Monday, April 26, 2010

Sue Williams - Feminist Artist

"Sue Williams work has been driven by the desire to understand and interpret the psychological world of the human condition and the ever-increasing pressures that drive us to behave in certain ways. The inspiration has been founded on the notion of the ‘….tit bits…’ a play with reality and fantasy from a feminine perspective, often subverting the truth through image and text, in both a serious and playful manner. The main thrust in the work is drawing - drawing been used as an urgent and immediate tool for visualizing my responses..." (Williams, 2010)

Sue Williams is another artist that relies heavily on her past as an inspiration for her artwork today. She uses both words and drawing to convey her message. She has been in brutal relationships, one of which she was shot and left for dead. She often draws the phrases that she uses in her artwork from things that have been said to her. The autobiographical nature of her work acknowledges that other women go through this violence as well. (Smith, 1992) "I couldn't imagine doing any of these things a little while ago. I think men don't know the experience of being a woman, just like I don't know the experience of being black. There's just so much more that you don't know until it's put out there." "It became an outside anger instead of just my life."

‘I am a woman making self-reflective work, this naturally leads to its categorization as feminist art, though I have not tried to define my practice in that context.’ ‘My work partly focuses on my own vulnerability, and at this time it has to be said, ‘as a woman’.

The piece above is called Irresistible (1992). It's a rubber sculpture of a woman, laying in the fetal position, beat up with words written all over her body. She has bruises all over her body as well as cuts and boot marks. Some of the statements are "The No. 1 cause of injury to women is battery..." "Look what you made me do." "If you don't care about yourself..." To see all of these statements you need to walk around the whole piece and read them. This isn't something that you can glance at and then walk away, gaining nothing.

Just like Kahlo, I see Williams' art as empowering. She frankly shows a beaten and broken woman, but you know that that woman can rise from her ashes. She exposes the violence against women and wants to make it known that it is horribly wrong. Her pieces are thought provoking, I think. She's shedding light into what happens to women in the private world. She's showing that feminist mantra that "the private is political" is quite true. She's saying "domestic violence happens - and here's what it looks like. Look at it. Recognize it."

Smith, Roberta. "Up and Coming: Sue Williams - An Angry Young Woman Draws a Bead on Men." New York Times (1992): n. pag. Web. 26 Apr 2010.

Williams, Sue. "Info.", 2010. Web. 26 Apr 2010.

1 comment:

  1. I'm afraid you've mixed up work by two different artists named Sue Williams. Not sure which one you're actually referencing but the picture of the artist is the nonmorepink Sue Williams and the Roberta Smith and the Your Bland Essence is the Chicago-born artist who shows at 303 Gallery and Regen Projects. Pretty major whiff, I'd say.