Maybe not forgotton. Omitted may be a better word.
While writing a post for the Suzi Blu Gypsy Warrior blog, I included a link to the post about how The Journaling Project began, because Suzi wanted to see a whole wall of the j. pieces. Out of curiosity, I clicked on my link to Su-en Wong's website. It doesn't look like she's been active in the art world for several years. I clicked around and couldn't find anything recent. I clicked on the Articles link and this article from Art News was at the top of the list. It's from March of 2003.
I never scanned these j. pieces - I had to go back to the Seattle pages to see if I even saved them, other than one I drew with me on the floor and the word FAILED (which I just scanned).
The article is about the Female Nude in artwork. The whole time in Seattle I tried to reconcile my art ideas into artwork. Without success. Even after six years, I was still raw from the crap I went through in grad school with my Female Figures. I wrestled with how to deal with the Female Figure or even to deal with it at all - was it really passe? Then I read that article. And it sent me into a tail spin.
The article begins with Su-en Wong and her naked female figures. It mentions rather than discusses a brief history of the female nude in the history of art and then goes on to say that all these contemporary female artists are working with the female nude on their terms.
Here is what I wrote at the time, on March 10, 2003, on five J. pieces:
3/10/03 11:04 am. Oh my God, I am so mad right now I can hardly see straight. I started clicking on my art websites. I clicked on Art News. This month: Women Artists. I clicked on an article called, "Naked Truths" - current women artists. The irrelevant "What about men? What about the Human Condition?" "Oh...my friend is so skinny, she can't help it." "Why so frontal?" FEMALE NUDE! Transforming the Female Nude. The first words in the article: Su-en Wong, (!) 29, paints naked, prepubescent-looking Asian females. Su-en! In Art News! The article profiles several artists working with the GOD DAMNED FEMALE NUDE! Oh, my God, did I cave in? Did I let them talk me out of my female nudes? Did I just go home and close the door? Have I done it again? Did I abandon my women needlessly? I'm having trouble breathing because I'm so mad I want to cry but I'm at fucking work! Oh, Christ, I don't know how to be an artist. I've failed absolutely.
I must have called Steve to tell him about it. He bought me a present to cheer me up. Then my best friend J. called. I didn't know it, but Steve called her to tell her how upset I was and asked her to call me. Here are the J. pieces from that evening, plus the next day (a little bit of irrelevant text omitted):
3/10/03 8:09 pm I have the Sweetest Sweetie in the World. And I have the Best Friend in the World. Steve called me - several times actually - today....Steve told me he bought me a present to cheer me up - to add to my "collection." -? So when I got home there was a Flourish-wrapped gift on the boom box. I said, "Is that for me?!" Steve gave it to me. It was a different set of cat magnets! The woman at Flourish said they just got them in today. One of them is an Emmett Cat! So, we went for our walk. Steve reached into his wallet for a Chinoise coupon. "You don't want to cook, do you?" So he said he wanted a particular dish, with beef. But I said that wasn't the best way to have his beef allotment. He should save it for a really good steak, or ground beef for nachos. He stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. "Nachos! That's what I want!" So, I went to Bartell's to see if my reprints were in. Four were, two weren't. So, while I was cooking, J. called. She asked what was going on, and I almost hesitated to tell her about the Art News thing, but I told her. Well, she helped me put it in perspective - like she always does! We both lamented the old professors' voices in our head. The criticism we've gotten. I'd forgotten the Expository Writing professor who wrote on one of J.'s papers, "I can't imagine anyone wanting to read this." J. marveled at the plethora of information our brains take in - yet we remember those few words of criticism. Forever. And she brought up something I never think of - that all art has an audience somewhere. When I told her about the female nudes, she said, "Well, that's just somebody's opinion somewhere." Everyone who comes to art sees something different. And professors can be motivated by jealousy, ignorance, meanness. J. said, "Well, you have a Seattle studio. And you'll have a Springfield studio or a Pittsburgh studio." Today I was feeling like I had to get back to my big female nudes. Because they're "in" ! I was "in" and didn't know it?!?! I don't feel so much like that anymore. J. is going to the mountains this weekend to spend her birthday with her parents. She said, "Talk to you when I'm 39." We both kind of went: (sigh) ... "Yep." So, then Steve asks me if J. told me why she called. Uh...no, not really... Steve called her and told her I was upset over the art thing and asked her to call me!!! He is the Sweetest Sweetie. And J. can always be counted on to put things in perspective.
3/11/03 8:30 am Just got to work. Still thinking about the Art News. I'm not jealous. Just discouraged. Su-en certainly deserves it. She's a very good painter. She's got the technical expertise, and she does interesting paintings. She went right to New York, got shows, there and other places (at least Portland) and got into Art News. I went back to office work and got fat. Fatter. I feel like I stayed home. 8:49 am And after a walk in the drizzly gray rain - great way to start the day - I got out my Men at Work Cargo CD. It's empty! The CD is in the Boom Box at Home. (SIGH)
FYI: Flourish was a little gift shop just up the street from our apartment entrance, on our same block. Chinoise was an asian restaurant. Funny thing when they opened - about a week later they had to put in a sushi bar and hire a sushi chef. They were surprised that, despite there being half a dozen places within a few blocks where you can get sushi, customers wanted sushi. Bartell's is a local drug store in Seattle.
My MFA Woman I:
We still have the little Cat Magnets:
The 'Emmett Cat' magnet is in the upper left corner of the Page A Day calendar page on the right: