Nine Women

 "We are allowing our project to reveal itself over time." 

--Kate and Lauren

Image of a River, part of a paper quilt by Kate Brandes (thread, watercolor, paper)

I haven't written about this project for a few months, but Kate and I have continued to meet at my studio on a weekly basis (as often as we can manage it) to talk, brainstorm, and create art.  We have changed the name of this project from "Hidden" to "Identity," still under the broader heading of "Intersections" on my website.  We are allowing our project to reveal itself over time, with patience and sensitivity.

Kate is working on a series of paper quilts, inspired by 9 contemporary women artists-scientists.  She has conducted interviews with these women, many of which are now available to read on her website.  I plan to highlight each one in turn, in future "Intersections" posts.

another piece of a paper quilt by Kate Brandes

another piece of a paper quilt by Kate Brandes

"I'm hoping to create something that draws on what I know about them,

but it's through MY eyes, so it's also my vision."

--Kate Brandes (talking about the nine women artist-scientists)

Berthe Moristot's self portrait

Meanwhile, after feeling aimless for a long while, I realized what I wanted to do.  Talking with Kate helped clarify this for me, which just goes to show how good it is to work collaboratively with other artists, rather than living in my studio-cave, working in seclusion all the time.  What I want to do is this: I will also take nine women (artists and mothers, contemporary and historical) and do a copy of each woman's self portrait.  Then I will do a self portrait of MYSELF, using whatever techniques or inspirations I gained from my experience of doing the copy.  The first artist I am doing is Berthe Morisot, friend and contemporary of Manet, Renoir, Degas, and the whole gang.

Work-in-progress, making my first copy

There will also be a narrative element to my exploration of each artist.  I'm currently reading a great biography about Morisot, and writing a short story about her experience studying with Corot, who was her teacher in 1860, when she was 19, and he was about 65.  She herself made a copy of one of his paintings (below), which is a big part of the story I'm writing.  I myself plan to make my own copy of his painting (I ordered a really good quality print to work from) so that I can get even closer to Morisot, to understand her better.  I am thinking that we might have the same experience making the copy, the same challenges, the same joyful moments of learning.

The Gardens of the Villa d'Este, Tivoli painting by Corot, which Berthe Morisot copied

So, that's the update for now.  The main point seems to be, that although Kate and I are each exploring nine other women artists, our ultimate subject is ourselves, our own identity.  I'm sure this project will continue to evolve and grow more interesting in time, and I promise to keep you updated!  

Feel free to comment below, and add any thoughts or ideas you might have!