Activist: One who supports or opposes with vigor a
It always seems to be the artists or musicians who lead the way on "rights" issues.
That is my friend Jennie Booth. Living in New York she is someone I think you should know. She has been a long time
advocate of rights for women, a subject that for all of history
has been largely ignored by those in control (MEN).
In her art and with her voice she has spoken to this issue.
I spoke with her this week and got some great insight from her
and in addition I asked her, if you were leaving the planet and could take only one piece of art, which would it be?
Then I asked if you could live 100 years ago or 100 years from now which would you chose.
Her are her eloquent words...
I dislike talking about myself. That may not be the best thing in a career field that has become all about who is the loudest and most repetitive advertiser. I don't even want my artwork to directly speak about me. Though you can find me peaking out from between layers of symbols in my work, my paintings are not about ME. I address issues that are not reflective of one cultural viewpoint or one history. Why this abstraction? The big picture encompasses the smallest most obscure picture.
Homosapien Sapiens are not as evolved as we would like to believe. Yes, we've created some pretty fancy technologies and toys, but our ability to use them is paramount to putting a running chainsaw in the hands of a four year old. Harm is done.
Seeing the harm hurts me to the core. I reject the harmers, the harm, but I have not found a way to turn away.
I entered in to visual art as a way to spend hours and hours quietly, productively alone. Each painting is a personal challenge, a puzzle to solve. I hope people who see my work are brought to a place new and yet familiar, puzzling yet understood.
______Q: If you were leaving the planet and could only take one painting with you, which would you take?
My first thought about leaving the planet and taking one painting with me was ---Can I take a book? History of art without the words. Hundreds of color true plates. I would need a trolley cart to carry it. I wouldn't want to pick just one. One would, by nature of its tactile presence, slowly undermine the wealth of art images I carry in my head.
…OK... Van Gogh. Cypresses? Starry Night. The Universe itself on a lush 2d surface.
------Q: If you could choose to live 100 years ago or 100 years from now, which would it be??
I would choose to live 100 years in the future. Implicit in that is the optimism that 100 years in the future would exist. How would it feel to be cognizant in Primordial Stew 2.0? Interesting thought. Resounding quiet. Other galaxies' stars would shine through. I hope a few problems might be solved in 100 years time.
Woman's Rights. You know that 100 years from now question? Where will women be in 100 years? Sometimes my women friends, and a few male friends have a conversation that goes something like this…."Why do men hate women so much?" Cause they've got to hate women in order to carry through all of the mythologies and traditions, unwritten rules and legislation that have ruled Earth since history. There is a continued will to keep women in a category just outside of human. Why?
And many women do go along with it. Befriend your jailer and hope for an extra piece of bread?
The truth is that no problem found on Earth will be solved until women are given equal status as human under law and tradition. Global warming, Hunger, War, Terrorism, you name the impending catastrophe and I will pinpoint its cause to woman's inequality. There is no real effort to solve these problems because to do so would mean a massive redistribution of wealth and power. Who ever does that willingly?
The work pictured above is; "The Universe Gets A View"
Here is Jennie's inspiration for it...
The Universe in her iconographic form. A woman/girl in a red skirt, the international symbol for "female". The red of her skirt the embodiment of manifest physical life. She stands atop a mountain of hands in the desert. It is a mountain of effort, of work itself, holding her up. And a mountain of reaching...longing. To her left and right are yucca trees. Their seedpods are eyes whose tears of compassion bring life to the desert.
In 2007, I participated in a fantastic artist residency program in Tularosa, New Mexico called Mano Y Mente. It was my first time in the Southwest and I just loved the landscape there. (I am trying to find a way back to that area!) I was fascinated by the broad plains of desert, the incredible skies and the yucca plant, which I learned is much taller that the plant you actually see jutting out of the sands and soil of New Mexico.
We spent time painting and drawing at White Sands National Monument, (with all of its heavy implications) and I learned that as the sands sweep over the area, they slowly bury the plants, but the yucca plants stubbornly reach for the sun and life. Their roots run far beneath the sands bringing structure to the desert and ways for water to be saved. I saw this as an analogy for compassion and forbearance; the will to survive in the face of deserts that intend only to cover and bury. This felt like the struggles of women and to that end the struggles of our natural world to maintain its equilibrium in the face of the sweeping disregard of humanity.
This Universe carries a heart (compassion, love) under her arm and a brain (wisdom, knowledge) on her head. She looks out over the Universe, which is in the end, Herself.
view Jennie's bio & portfolio here http://www.jenniebooth.com/
by Pete Cataldo, follow Pete www.twitter.com/petecarma