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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Barbara Astman

Toronto,
Canada

As a young emerging artist I would be compelled to search out female artists and curators, someone who might understand the kind of work I was making and thinking about. I wanted to break away from the hierarchy of Jansen’s Art History and create my own history. I was engaged with gender and identity issues before I even knew what the term Feminist Art meant, probably before the term was actively used. I am a studio based researcher and a professor at the OCAD University in Toronto. My professorship has allowed me to mentor and encourage a full range of students, but the focus has been on emerging female students. I see my role as helping to empower them to trust their own voice.

In 2008, Astman and AGO Associate Curator, Canadian Art, Georgiana Uhlyarik, collaborated on a curatorial project for the Transformation AGO Exhibition, dealing with Joyce Wieland and early feminist practice. The show explored the early works of Suzy Lake, Lisa Steel and myself in relationship to the influence of Joyce Wieland. For non-Canadians, Wieland was the first female artist to be granted a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in 1971. She helped to bring forward feminist issues within the predominantly male art culture of the time.

Feminist Artist Statement

As a young emerging artist I would be compelled to search out female artists and curators, someone who might understand the kind of work I was making and thinking about. I wanted to break away from the hierarchy of Jansen’s Art History and create my own history. I was engaged with gender and identity issues before I even knew what the term Feminist Art meant. Probably before the term was actively used. I am a studio based researcher and a professor at the OCAD University in Toronto. My professorship has allowed me to mentor and encourage a full range of students, but the focus has been on emerging female students. I see my role as helping to empower them to trust their own voice.

In 2008, Astman and AGO Associate Curator, Canadian Art, Georgiana Uhlyarik, collaborated on a curatorial project for the Transformation AGO Exhibition, dealing with Joyce Wieland and early feminist practice. The show explored the early works of Suzy Lake, Lisa Steel and myself in relationship to the influence of Joyce Wieland. For non-Canadians, Wieland was the first female artist to be granted a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in 1971. She helped to bring forward feminist issues within the predominantly male art culture of the time.

<p>Untitled, I was thinking about you…Series</p>

Untitled, I was thinking about you…Series

I typed a personal narrative directly on the developing Polaroid photograph, then enlarged it to the scale of my body.

Untitled, I was thinking about you…Series

I typed a personal narrative directly on the developing Polaroid photograph, then enlarged it to the scale of my body.

Red Series

This deals with the psychological impact of red in the home and studio environment and I act as the facilitator of the objects that I hold.

Scenes from a movie for one, Series.

This series of heavily manipulated self portraits were created by layering stripped polaroids. The stripping process involves washing and scrubbing which created the distressed painterly surface of the images which plays into the emotional state.

Dancing with Che #13

This series explores a cultural icon in the form of a pop culture t-shirt which I wear and then dance with. My body brings Che to life.

Newspaper Series, Yakuzathugs.

This ongoing series explores my fascination with pop culture and the daily news.

Dancing with Che: Enter through the gift shop

This is an installation of over 1,500 objects and a video all depicting the 30 images from the dancing with che series, to create a souvenir shop where nothing is for sale. It questions our consumer desires. There are coffee mugs, key chains, plates, pins, blankets, t-shirts, playing cards, books, postcards, tote bags, etc in this site specific installation. Each museum installation was created specific to their space.

I as artifact #1.

This series of 20 images was created from a facial mask product. The resulting self portrait masks were scanned then altered and then enlarged digitally. I was thinking about myself in relationship to the whole universe.

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Text, images, audio, and/or video in the Feminist Art Base are copyrighted by the contributing artists unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.