WOMEN'S ART MOVEMENT 1977 – 1978
“The emergence of feminism inspired experimentation in art. For me it was an exciting time that led to new conversations and a change of direction in my work.”
Since leaving art school I had been working in total isolation. Then in 1975 Lucy Lippard came from America to give the ‘Power Lecture’, where she presented a slideshow of women’s art works. I was amazed at the richness and variety of artwork being made by women, and was inspired by the honest references to both the joy and pain in their life experiences.
A supportive climate that encouraged experimentation emerged. Personally, it was an exciting time and it also led to the Women’s Art Forum, regular meetings of women artists at the Ewing Gallery, and the formation of the Women’s Art Register.
This exposure to other women’s art and the ongoing conversations inspired works such as the Males Money-box, the Monthly Cycle game, and a series of drawings with collage.
This series of drawings with collage (1977) emerged from a desire to create a group of artworks that told something of my own life.
I created the Males Money-box for ‘The Money Show’ that was curated by the Ewing Gallery in 1977.
I also made the game Monthly Cycle for Cathy Nicholson in the early months of 1977. The idea began when Cathy, a fellow student at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, returned to Australia to visit her family after spending a number of years in London. Her visit brought news of a group of feminist artists in England and the exhibition they were mounting, called Portrait of the Artist as a Young Housewife – A Postal Event. Cathy was part of this network of women. She made a small piece for me. Called Decision Boxes, it told of her dilemma about choosing in which side of the world to live.
I was moved by its simplicity and honesty and I felt I must respond. So I developed the idea of a game incorporating the mundane events of my daily life with the struggle to create. It was, in fact, my first work coming out of a female consciousness. My work was included in the Postal Event exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London and at the Ewing Gallery in Melbourne.