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Ann Stewart Anderson: Mythic Women

 

In the second of a three-part series on Kentucky artists, the University of Kentucky Art Museum presents the works of Louisville artist Ann Stewart Anderson in Mythic Women, opening February 17, 2002. Mythic Women is made up of three series of paintings, the Demeter and Persephone Cycle (1995), Ariadne's Labyrinth (1998), and Helen and Clytemnestra (2001), and a mixed-media, viewer-interactive installation of Pandora's Boxes (1998). As Stewart Anderson notes, Greek myths typically focus on male heroes so she decided to explore the "extraordinary wisdom, cunning, independence, and faithfulness" of Greek heroines by showing them as sisters and mothers, daughters and wives -- all the roles that women play regardless of when they live. Each series incorporates symbolic imagery with traditional and modern settings. The artist's expressive, emotion-driven brushstrokes and vibrant color choices further enhance the power of the works. According to Stewart Anderson, her aim to is retell familiar truths, offering "new interpretations of these mythic women ... with an attention to the details of narrative. They are essential statements about the vicissitudes of human life." (left: Ann Stewart Anderson (American, b. 1935), Ariadne's Labyrinth , 1998, oils on canvas, 30 panels, 72 x 74 inches, Courtesy of the artist)

Stewart Anderson studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1985, she collaborated on an NEA-funded project with the feminist artist Judy Chicago. Her works have focused on the rituals of being a woman: applying makeup, lunching with friends, changing clothes in dressing rooms, talking on the telephone. The intimate warmth of the women in her paintings defies the historic objectification of women in art; they are neither religious figures, nor sex objects, nor merely part of the background. Stewart Anderson's women are, in her words, "women to whom women will relate, in whom they will see themselves." The University of Kentucky Art Museum acquired four works from the artist's Phone Call series, purchased in 1993 through the Docent Art Fund. (left: Ann Stewart Anderson (American, b. 1935), Paternal Play , from Helen and Clytemnestra , 2001, oils on canvas, 10 panels, each panel 34 x 30 inches, Courtesy of the artist)

The opening reception for Mythic Women will be Sunday, February 17 at 2:00 in the Art Museum. The artist will present a gallery talk. An illustrated brochure, published by the artist and funded in part by a grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, will be available for purchase at the museum.

This exhibition is second in the Art Museum's three-part Kentucky artist series. The first, on view in Fall 2001, featured Kentucky Poet Laureate James Baker Hall's A Spring-fed Pond: My Friendships with Five Kentucky Writers. The third exhibition, to be on view Summer 2002, will showcase the work of regional artist Cole Carothers (to open on May 26, 2002).

 

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