“The personal is political” became a rallying cry for the second-wave feminist movement in the late 1960s and ‘70s, forcefully declaring that women’s personal experiences are intrinsically related to broader social and political issues. Embracing this premise, the artists in this gallery confront sociopolitical issues facing women today through the lens of personal lives and experiences.
They employ a diverse range of stylistic means to advance their objectives. Some, like Chicago-based artist Hollis Sigler, work with an intentionally simple, graphic style to position themselves outside of male-dominated artistic traditions and aesthetics. At the other end of the spectrum are artists like Clint Brown, who adopt pop art’s polished surfaces and reproductive processes to point to the underbelly of a slick corporate world. Other artists wield a wry and acerbic sense of humor to challenge gender stereotypes, such as in the tongue-in-cheek ceramics of Seattle-based artist Patti Warashina. Collectively, these artists push the limits on some of the most pressing issues of their time and today, including gender equity and sexual politics in the workplace, women’s health, and stereotypes of femininity and sexuality.
Image: A Tango Against Time, 1983, Hollis Sigler, American, 1948-2001, oil on canvas, 47 7/8 x 59 3/4 in., Seattle Art Museum, Mary Arrington Small Estate Acquisition Fund, 84.142, © Hollis Sigler.