Happy International Women’s Day!
Beaverbrook Art GalleryMarch 8, 20180 Comments
It’s no secret that women artists and their work have been traditionally underrepresented in the art world. For International Women’s Day this year, we asked artist Danielle Hogan to share her thoughts on the topic. Hogan was our artist-in-residence in January, and curated the exhibition WATCH OUT, currently on display at the Gallery. Hogan’s artistic and curatorial work emphasizes an exploration of women’s experiences and artistic creation.
During her time as artist-in-residence at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Hogan shared her own creative work with visitors; she explored topics of “women’s work”, gender representation, and culture, and also put together an exhibition exploring artworks by women artists from the Gallery’s permanent collection.
Hogan’s curatorial goal with this exhibition, she says, is celebratory rather than critical, while still drawing attention to unique perspectives in the work, and to the underrepresentation of women artists in collections more generally. “We need to be able to approach a subject and point to gaps within it,” she says. “By picking works that are all created by women-identifying artists, I focused on perspectives that may not be seen often enough.”
Without wanting to present one single female perspective, Watch Out aims to point out gaps in existing narratives of art and art history. “It’s simply the fact that these are important contributions to conversations that haven’t been heard due to dominant systems of patriarchy that exist in the art world, like everywhere else,” says Hogan. When speaking about this “dominant narrative”, Hogan says that the “simplified, generalized narratives don’t serve everyone. To add voices and perspectives to that complicates the dominant narrative - in the sense that it adds complexity. That complexity is reality.”
“Today is International Women’s Day,” adds Hogan. “Let’s make it our tipping point rather than a tokenistic acknowledgement. We can’t afford to leave anyone behind on our journey towards gender equality: women, girls, trans people of all gender expressions. Real equality is only achieved when it is whole, and to achieve this we must reach for those furthest behind first. From today forward, speak up, make art, read, write your elected officials, act with kindness, be inclusive, step aside. Human rights activist and professor of philosophy Angela Davis says, ‘walls turned sideways, are bridges‘. So, let’s get at it; I’ll meet you at the far end of bridge.”
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s focus on the artists who often get left out of stories, histories, and exhibitions. What is your favorite work by a woman artist? What unique perspectives have you found in the Gallery?
Danielle Hogan is the founding director of the Gynocratic Art Gallery, and a past artist-in-residence at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. She describes herself as, “an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator and practice-informed researcher with a Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick. I live in Fredericton, a city that sits on traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq peoples. My work is deeply inspired by networks of care among and across communities of women – ‘women’s work’ – and I am an artist who is inspired by all things textile, and that thrives on thrifting and knitting.”