Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ironing with Ray and Women at Work

I am so inspired by the community of artists blogging and want to add my own comment with a mailart piece. It was because of Lisa at onpainting that I thought this mailart would fit in with the current discussion on women in the arts.

The text for this piece:
Here are some symbols for you to ponder in a way that will stimulate emotional filtration. The joy of ironing provides a moment to consider the ironies of life. Irony being: the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning. We see this in calling war, peace, etc.. So, I was ironing with Ray the other day thinking about the pressing issues that face us all in this new century, remembering how far women have not got...I'm still ironing. Waiting for God to show..Loving the few moments I have for art, the smell of clean laundry and the fresh ink from my press. Press...Pressure to keep up~cold press~hot press~Permanent Press~~Never needs ironing--but enjoying the irony, especially sardonic irony from political comedians. Then I thought about~~~missing you~~and~~~I became upside down and a sad iron~

So, I feel like Mrs. Pott's~~old, wondering if I can finish all my work and keep in touch with you. I'll ask then.....Is she also thinking about painting or pressing...Press: Ettan Press Co.~~What are your pressing issues???

Trying to iron out the wrinkles becomes a sculpture, an abstract that seems, or is like the perfect French seam, an elegant line like a woman's breast or delicate line like the rolled-like hem that is the butterfly's body beneath its winged fabric. Let us seek the gathering of spiritual, artistic and optimistic community, not in the pocket of the cruel, not merely basted in, but toward a clean finish that always supports directional stitching.


Edgar said...

Punny, but apt. I like this musing on "women's work" while really questioning about your art-time and relationships. Neatly, the whole thing is paradoxically negated by the fact that you were actually making art by making this piece. It is "meta-art." Profoundness!

Melinda said...

Yes, all that and walked the dogs, too.

Perhaps "paradoxically negated" is a palliative for the profoundly dependent, yet supportive purloiner (is this a word?) of great portions of one woman's painting endeavors.

Oh, my..."meta"? Thank you.

Anonymous said...


Melinda said...

Thanks for stopping by, Martha. Appreciate your comment!

my croft said...

Hi Melinda, Thanks for stopping by the croft.

I wandered over to the blog you reference and think, perhaps, the saddest thing is how many women not only discount themselves but also the accomplishments of tother women.

Success, hiowever you define it, really is all about where you put your focus.

Melinda said...

Absolutely, my croft. If we can re-frame our beliefs about women and art, we can change our definition of succsess. I just posted a comment there today that I want to keep as a reminder.
Here goes:
Perhaps it’s time to re-define success:

Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Brown, Alice Neel, Francoise Gilot, Mary Ann Currier, Annie Leibovitz, Louise Bourgeois, Linda Nochlin (”Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” ARTnews January 1971), etc.

How did they answer the same questions?

What if, for the rest of the year, you only mentioned WOMEN artists when referring to great work?

You are the creator…of art. So…YOU say! The freedom to produce what you want, when you want, how you want, is a gift you give yourself, whether you’re making a million dollars at it or no money at all.

Anonymous said...

Melinda, thanks for publishing this piece in response to my post. I find it very interesting, and I also find Edgar's response interesting if not a tad peculiar. Are you bitter Edgar? Is that your point? Why "punny"? Just curious. I would like to add the addendum to your comment to read, "...Neatly, the whole thing is paradoxically negated by the fact that you were actually making art by making this piece and paradoxically negated and cleverly so, by your use of simply handwriting for expedience sake which drives the point home all the further."

Edgar, I would've liked your commment better if you had signed it "Edna"...dude.


Melinda said...

Well, that Edgar does couch his words, sometimes so eloquently (or 'sub tilly') that many times they are hidden under the metaphorical cushions of said couch, that even he may not realize contain layers of meaning. I like your addition about the expediency of handwriting!

Yet, one who organizes the studio, builds and stretches the canvases, orders beaucoup art supplies (quelling all perception of lack), delivers food to a hungry artist and makes a graduation video the likes of which this artist could not have imagined, need not feel any cultural guilt.

You've been absolved, Edgar (but watch it, buster)...and your admiration is noted.
Now...on to the next 2.9299 billion men in the world!

Edgar said...

Thanks for the kind pardon. Me and Scooter Libby, in the same boat. Now I know what Hell looks like ;->

Nevertheless, I wrote in haste, and short-handed a few things that you and I have been talking about -- and that came out snooty (or snotty) and bitter. So, I hereby apologize for the shortcoming.

Absolutely, I admire the many levels that you work on in this piece. And I was trying to point out the inherent irony in making art about 'not being able to make artwork.' It is a beautiful thing, because the cognitive dissonance I feel viewing the piece is ... delicious. So, I wasn't trying to denigrate the work or the concept by suggesting that the thing invalidates itself, but instead I was acknowledging the genius of making it.

All that aside, "Am I bitter?" Hmm. I can't think of any way that a denial wouldn't sound strident and defensive... but in any case, I'm not going to deny it: Yes, I am bitter. Bitter inside and out, roots and stems, roundly and thoroughly. But probably not about the things that people who don't know my story would guess that I'm bitter about. I'm bitter about my own, specially-flavored bitterness.

As for "Punny"... I have a learned aversion to puns, which I can't defend outside of saying, "That's how I was raised." I've heard that puns are the highest form of humor, and know there is some justification for the claim.

But far and away what is more important than my reaction to punning, is the clear talent Melinda has for a turn of phrase, a wry tweak and a wink, and for extending the poetry of her words past pun and into an easy, sliding metaphor that fits the moment and the need like good jazz.

Anonymous said...

Oooooh...I was reading "punny" with a long 'u' sound. What can I say--I'm from the South where 'punny' is either the way you feel when you are coming down with a cold, or a piss poor portion of collard greens. Edgar, I'm guessing you're from Boston-ish.

At any rate, it's nice to see there is a lot of love in the cyber room. I am really curious as to why you are bitter though Edgar. Does it have anything to do with women?

And finally, Melinda did you not get my request to correct my typos? Maybe I sent them wrong.

Melinda said...

That's strange. I didn't get your post about the typos. In fact, I didn't notice any until I went back and loooked...
It's okay! Really. I'm more interested in what you say rather than a slip of the keystroke. See, I put a typo in the first paragraph just for comfort!

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Too deep for me - I think I'll go and hang out the washing!

Karen said...

I found this piece (even its title) and its text meditative: both sad and hopeful, very specific, personal and small, and also vast. And moving.

Anonymous said...

Melinda you look suspiciously like a certain woman running for president, oops-vice president, in that little avatar/icon of yours.

Melinda said...

Thank you for your generous comment. Indeed, I am struggling with empty nest syndrome...This is a tougher transition this year and posting these letters helps me a bit.

I often think, while producing them, that they will be misunderstood or even appear amaturish, but my heart is completely there, in the midst, hoping to be revealed.

Okay. You see I didn't need any caffeine in my coffee this morning! You've got me scrambling and uploading a new avatar within minutes! In fact, I'm looking into affixing a slideshow to this blog. Stay tuned and:
Thank you for the spur in my saddle today. ;-)