The Feminine Body
"In a world where masculinity is respected and femininity is regularly dismissed, it takes an enormous amount of strength and confidence for any person, whether female or male-bodied, to embrace their feminine self." - Julia Serano
Holly Woodlawn - Peter Palladino
"Gender Identity is an absolutely separate issue from Sexuality. Gender Identity is the persona that one acts out and presents to the world as masculine or feminine and Sexuality is the role one chooses to express the act of having sex. Gender is expressed as male or female and the variations of sexuality is as varied as ones imagination will allow. Given the relatively recent culture shifts and acceptance of heretofore unacceptable social behaviors and norms, the definitions of "feminine" and "masculine" too have shifted and are not absolute. My most succinct definition of femininity is that it is the opposite of and complement to masculinity. It's not unlike when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stewart said, "I know pornography when I see it." Similarly, I know femininity when I see it.
“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” Charles Horton Cooley
The discipline to maintain a daily creative practice is something to aspire to. It is a ritual where an artist can suspend self-doubt and judgement. It is understood that every daily effort does not culminate in a finished work. A daily practice is also a habit that can allow the recording of inspiration in unusual ways, on bar napkins, grocery receipts, the back of a place mat, whatever is handy, instead of requiring the documentation of an idea to be precious. The value in the consistency of a daily practice, and having a venue for taking risks, is that it can lead an artist past a creative block or help develop a new body of work.
Part of this creative freedom comes from the understanding that this work is typically not meant for public consumption. However, evidence of the evolution of an idea can reward an art collector with the raw roots of their favorite piece. At the new Palm Springs gallery Barba Contemporary Art, select pieces from an artist’s daily practice, and the finished work that is evidence of that daily practice’s innovation are hung in the same gallery. On the following pages are daily practice images (shown as thumbnails) below larger finished pieces from five artists represented by Barba Contemporary Art.
Palm Springs loves mid-century anything, especially in February when Modernism Week takes over our calendars. While we celebrate great architecture, art, and all that Palm Springs has to offer, here is a small exhibition providing some emotional balance to the unyielding optimism of the mid-century. What follows are four artists exploring the dark matters.