“Painting is silent poetry” — Simonides
I have been an artist as long as I can remember. I graduated for Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1980, but long before that, I was always drawing and doodling animals.
In art school, I was interested in art history, but I quickly learned it was a very male centric curriculum, with little exception. Animal imagery seemed trite and conventional, with few outstanding examples. Mostly we learned about abstract expressionism and post modernism, but I found many examples of women persevering behind the scenes. I stumbled upon Rosa Bonheur, and at last had found a woman who followed her own heart and vision, guided by her love of animals. Others emerged, both men and women, who stepped outside of the mainstream narrative.
It wasn’t until after I left art school that I got back to my reason for making images, which is to distill and look at the things I love. What has meaning for me and how can I share that? I want to connect to others, I want to improve my craft. Art is what connects me to the world, just as flying connects the bird to the sky.
Sadly, as we are facing the possibility of extinction, the erroneous patriarchal exclusion of nature and women becomes clearer. Intellectual exceptionalism and male dominated history has come to a head. Making art, by hand, the long road, is a push back against our demise, a way to see with an open heart.