Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Aganetha Dyck

Aganetha Dyck, Mother's Last Pair of Heels, shoes with beeswax. (source)

Aganetha Dyck, Queen, 2007. (source)

Aganetha Dyck, Glass Jar with Pink Wax, Buttons and Jewelled Leaves, 1984. (source)

Aganeth Dyck, Close Knit, 1976-81, 65 Shrunken woolen sweaters. (source)

The first works I'd seen of Aganetha Dyck were her button jars- they spoke to me instantly. Her works have a visceral quality that I really admire. Her references to 'women's work' and domesticity typically catch my fancy. I admire her work because it references something feminine in such a masculine world.

The art world is-for those of you not in know-terribly masculine- by which I mean that the traits that are praised are masculine ones- bravado, aloofness, derision for those who 'don't get you' and an unwillingness to explain one's work to anyone who is not 'qualified'. It's much like the attitude of a petulant school boy in my opinion.

I know this seems counter-intuitive to those of you who cherish the 'artsy fartsy' stereotype, but It's mostly true nowadays, (the macho male artist is another post- perhaps for Jackson Pollock). Anyhow- In such a setting even feminist works tend to deal with women as sexual objects, as in "I'm Not an Object" art , or "Reclaiming Women's Bodies" art. I'm not saying that those issues are not worth exploring- just that it seems to me that it is the most 'masculine' way of exploring feminism- it is the way that appeals to men, it is dealing with the women's issues that men understand.

This is all a long way of saying that works like Dyck's, are a lot less sexy , but really deal with feminine issues like domesticity- and expectations of domesticity and mothering. Her Bee works seem to highlight the passiveness of co-operation, and the artist's role as a collaborator. They are quiet works- but richly textured and varied, they are nostalgic and introspective, but they are also edgy. They are really lovely, heartfelt works, but mostly they are honest works.

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