An Aggregate of Forces:
60 Women Artists Over 60
Originally posted August 2, 2017
All art (c) the individual artists
Ghost Ship, 2017; vine with gesso, paint, and aluminum leaf on wood posts; 4 x 12 x 1.5 feet
"Ghost Ship represents a passage. It is about my aging. The last segment of my life as it passes on for me . . . its presence echoes much of my history."
This has been a good time for women artists d'un certain âge. Despite the mindless cruelties of ageism in the art world and elsewhere, the rush to woo newly minted MFA-holding artists has slowed as dealers, curators, critics--and, yes, collectors--have come to appreciate those of us in it for the long haul. You need only consider the recent and current spate of exhibitions in New York City galleries and museums to see the interest in women artists, particularly those whose careers have spanned decades. My ongoing Mothers of Invention series has reported on several of these exhibitions, many of which include artists who are still working in the studio every day and exhibiting regularly.
Being an artist over 60 (there, I said it), I decided to create a feature that focuses on my contemporaries. We are also mothers of invention. The artists I selected for 60 Women Artists Over 60 come from throughout the United States and a few from Canada, ranging in age from just-turned-60 to just-about-to-turn 90. We have been serious artists our entire adult lives. We comprise, then, the history of contemporary art. And since so many of us came of age during the Second Wave of the Women's Movement, feminism has informed our lives and work. The title, An Aggregate of Forces, comes from painter PE Sharpe, who acknowledges the strong women in her life. You'll see her work as you scroll.
Barbara Lubliner, a member of the club, made her cast concrete sculpture, Muscle, right, when she was only 47, but it is placed in the Ms. Foundation collection next to the photograph of those two political powerhouses, Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, taken when they were 79 and 82 respectively
Hidden Memories, 2017, oil on panel, 32 x 38
Below: Installation view of her solo booth at the NADA art fair in New York City in March 2017, presented by Jeff Bailey Gallery
We Are in the Same Boat, 2017, oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches
Stephanie turned 78 as this article was being prepared
Youdelman standing with Self Portrait as Ophelia at the Fresno Art Museum, where her retrospective, Fashioning a Feminist Vision, 1972-2017
"I have been working and exhibiting since 1971. I just turned 69 in June and right now, this period of my life as an artist is truly the best ever. Because I work intuitively, the most valuable thing for me is having time to work, to allow ideas flow and develop naturally. Since I retired from teaching I am able to focus all my energy on my art."
Below: Detail of Self Porttrait as Ophelia
New Land, ongoing from 2015, gouache on paper, each 8.5 x 12 inches
This narrative installation tells the story of the fear and anticipation experienced by immigrants and refugees
As a young painter, Mon found her way from family life in New Jersey to the Art Students League in New York City when League rules didn't provide scholarships to married women, she notes. "But with the support of fellow students and instructors, I did receive a scholarship and completed four years of instruction." She began to exhibit in 1971.
My personal preference is for abstraction, specifically geometric abstraction, so I started the flow of images with work in this genre, but keep scrolling, because you'll see much more. I've divided the flow of images into a few categories.
60th Birthday Cake, June 2017, chocolate sheet cake with buttercream and fondant icing, 11 x 16 inches
Now this is how to turn 60: "I hired my art photographer to take pictures as every slice was removed," says Williamson. The cake, which she decorated, is of a piece with her oeuvre (which does not normally involve baked goods)
The Mighty Atom, 2014, acrylic on aluminum panel, 50 x 46 inches
"Somehow, everything I’ve been working on professionally for the past 43 years seems to all have joined together into one cohesive and continuing story. I don’t know what the next chapter of development will bring. I’m just happy that my creative impulse has never wavered, and I wake up each morning eager to get into the studio."
Quaglia 215, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 x 5 inches
"Gail Sheehy writes in her book, New Passages, "Imagine the day you turn 45 as the infancy of another life.” I picked up a paintbrush for the first time at the age of 48, after a successful career as a graphic designer. Now 61, I am a living example of that theory. My work and career have taken off in ways I never could have imagined. I truly believe that I could not have produced the work I do now, when I was in my 20’s. I am more creative and more disciplined than I ever was in my youth. Back then, I was too concerned with seeking validation. Age has brought with it a kind of fearlessness, mingled with a lifetime of experiences."
Per Aspera Ad Astra (Through Hardship to the Stars), 2017, oil on shaped canvas, 9 feet high
The Future, 2016; acrylic on canvas, antique chair; 84 x 57 x 20 inches
"Being a female, a lesbian artist over 60, has made me feel both invisible and yet more free than in the past; a longer view provides perspective and proportion.The ego demands of fame and fortune don’t feel quite as compelling. I feel grateful to have been able to work steadily and persistently in the studio for over 40 years. And the friendship and support of a longstanding community is also partly responsible for my sanguine attitude. Of course, the art world is as youth-oriented as ever, and it’s not been easy to watch the next “hot new thing” take center stage. I still have hope that my day will come! But I don’t sweat it as much—we’re all part of this cultural history and contribute our best to it."
Capriccio, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 40 inches
"I'll keep it simple. I'm glad to be alive and still painting."
Terra Ignota, 2015, encaustic and pigment on paper on panel, 31 x 21 inches
"This title, translated as Unknown Territory, is a response to my experience transitioning into a new phase of life--after 60."
Harmonizations VIII, 2017, mixed metalpoint on black gesso on museum board on panel, 24 x 24 x 2 inches
"At 73 I am trying to look forward and not backward, but working on a retrospective of my work in metalpoint drawing scheduled for 2018 at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, I am forced to look over my life. Every art work from my past has a story of a different time and place."
Cry, 2007, encaustic on panel, 60 x 60 inches
"In my work, I have always tried to express human emotion in its most reductive form. Over the course of the 55 years I’ve been an artist, this has remained true. In the last decade I’ve experienced the death of my husband, the loss of many of my closest friends and artist colleagues, as well as my own personal struggles. These struggles and joys embed themselves in my psyche and find their way to my work. In Cry, each figure’s outstretched “arms” express the pain, longing, and grief I was experiencing . . . My mind is as adventurous now as it was when I was young, but my body is not. I’ve needed to adapt my work and processes to the realities of my physical limitations. But my need to express myself and the human condition continues."
Night Lights, 2016, encaustic and oil stick on panel, 29 x 29 inches
"I was born in 1939, just before the War. I have painted for almost 40 years and hope to continue painting for at least another 20 years."
Comes the Night, 2017; encaustic, textile collage, carbon on panel; 17 x 31.25 inches
Tapestry Series, 2017, oil on canvas with steel rods and angle iron hooks, each app. 80 x 80 inches
Unsayable Lights [foreground], 2017, acrylic and archival ink on canvas, 72 x 76 inches
Installation view from solo at Robichon Gallery, Denver
Remember to Count . . .", 2017, flashe and charcoal on Yupo mounted on Dibond, 40 x 26 inches
"Being a woman working as an artist for so many years has made me realize this is it...this is what I do...this is what I will keep doing until I can't, with ode to my now-passed artist mother, Margaret Manter, and my now-passed artist grandmother, Mary Manter."
Marking Time n. 10, 2010, mixed media, 18 x 18 inches
Nature, Figuration, Photography, and a Little Art History
Golden Trumpets, 2017, pigment ink on Kozo with encaustic, 36 x 45.5
"I am more creative, brave, happy, and secure in who I am than I have ever been before. I even like my silver hair!"
Moon Glow, 2014, acrylic on Mylar mounted on panel, 50 x 40 inches
In 2010 I had just turned 60 when I returned to my studio after a five-year hiatus writing my book, The Artist's Guide. After six frustrating months to awaken my visual art brain, these paintings on Mylar emerged. Whew. I felt I had arrived at last."
Dancers Dance, mixed media, 24 x 24 inches
Dark Matter, 2017; oil, enamel, and sand on linen; 36 x 48 inches
"In 1992, I had my first solo painting show, when I was 40-years-old. Now, I’m almost 65 and nearing the traditional retirement age . . . I have been a member of the vibrant all-women artist’s collective, A.I.R. Gallery, for 20 years and had my eighth solo show of new paintings there in March. I have an 21 solo shows in various venues. . . Dark Matter, which is based on a painting by Edvard Munch, was painted in the wake of the election. Two people looking out into a difficult and unknown future, which reflects my feelings at this time as an older woman artist and as an American in this era of backward thinking."
Duality, 2012, oil on canvas, 38 x 48 inches
"Over 60. Finding community, finding my audience."
Black & White
Paintings for Women, 2017, oil on canvas, 78 x 42 inches
"After three decades of pursuing photography and technology I made the decision to dedicate this final phase of a productive and fulfilling life as an artist to the unfolding of the pleasures of tactility in artmaking. I have spent these past several years discovering a vocabulary of line and formal expression of sense-desire particular to the properties of paint. This group of paintings is dedicated to the strong women who have been positive influences in my life, an aggregate of forces beyond naming."
Currents, 2015, coated copper wire, 28 x 28 x 3 inches
"I’m turning 90 this year. As I move ahead with my work, I also reflect on my inspirations and beginnings. For the past 20 years my work has been concerned with interlocking lines and the spaces they form. I create a sense of weightlessness and luminescence by the manipulation of narrow-gauge industrial wire as I explore the contradiction between metal elements known for their strength and durability and the delicacy of the textiles that result."
BKS-16-2, 2009, graphite on Diralar, 16 x 16 inches
"I was born in 1947 and have been converting wherever I lived into a studio. Over the years I've had many goals; some I reached, some I adjusted. Lately I've come to appreciate that I'm fully successful at arriving at exactly where I am!"
A Few Installations
Cells, 2016, acrylic on paper, 30 x 300 inches
Installation at Westbeth Gallery, New York City, 2017
Below: Cell 3, 30 x 38 inches
Black Tears, 2015, ink and beeswax on paper, 6.5 x 16 feet
Installation at Yellow Peril Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island, 2015
Below: Angled view of single elements, each 7 x 5.5 inches
Situations [large detail], 2017, mixed media, dimensions variable
Recent installation in the Amelia A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury, New York
On Location in the Pines and Other Places, 2017, mixed media
Installation at the Delaware Arts Alliance
Flow, 2017; tar paper, handmade paper, plexiglass rods; 22 x 55 x 4 feet
"Being over 60 has become a battle with time. I want to not be forgotten. This has made me more fierce, in search of bigger challenges, taking more risks with stronger clarity in my work. Nothing is daunting despite aches, pains, and surgeries. I stir my pot because honestly, what have I got to lose? "
Hue, Space, Place, A Year of Color, 2016, acrylic on polyester resin film, 14 x 23 x 5 feet
Recent installation at Odetta Gallery, Brooklyn
Intersection, 2017, polyester window film
Installation view from recent exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts
Paintings from Silk Road series, each encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches; installation 52 x 112 inches
Shown in Formal Aspects, curated by Sarah Hinckley, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, 2015
How I selected these artists
In mid-July I posted on my Facebook page a Call for Women Artists over 60, explaining my project and asking them to send me an image of their work. I limited the call to my "friends," some of whom I knew only through cyber space. Over the course of two weeks I received 148 submissions, enough to make at least two such features. Selection, then, was subjective. I chose works that resonated for me and which I felt advanced the curatorial flow. If you're counting, I went a little over my stated limit of 60. There's a lot of good work here.
Thank You Joanne for this project! I'm so happy to be part of this, with many women with whom I have shared wall space in various galleries and art fairs. Most inspiring has been learning about woman and work with whom I wasn't already familiar. You've just expanded the tapestry of women artists. Brava!Reply
Beautiful show! But it seems ironic to have only posted this call on FB in mid-July. It preselects only those artists who use FB---and fewer older artists that I know use it regularly. I missed that post but definitely would have applied. http://naomischlinke.com Alas! :-)ReplyReplies
There is nothing ironic about my Call to Artists in July. My intention was to limit the Call to those artists with whom I interact on Facebook, some of whom I know personally, others who are cyber friends only.
I am not paid to produce this blog, so I wanted to keep the number of submissions manageable. I received 148 submissions. This post took at least 30 hours to produce--selecting images, resizing them for blog posting, keeping track of info for each image, writing the captions, including the text from each artist who provided it, emailing back and forth with the selected artists as necessary. I requested a certain format; sometimes artists did not provide me with the format I requested. To have opened up this project to a wider audience would have resulted in an impossible job for me.
This is my gift to the community, so I'm sure you can understand that I get to choose the parameters of the project.
All best to you.
Good job, great show.
Thank you Joanne. Knowing your aesthetic, I didn't expect to be included, but am pleased and proud to have been selected. This is a wonderful grouping and beautifully curated in terms of sequence and weight. So grateful to have my vision pointed in all these new directions, thanks to your choices and presentation.ReplyReplies
Yum! Nourishing, affirming, dazzling and energizing! Thanks so much for following through with curating and implementing this virtual group! What a great vision! If the goal was to create both a showcase for the selected artists and inspiration and a sense of community for your audience, you have succeeded. Blog on, Joanne & many thanks.Reply
Thank you Joanne. What a wonderful collection of women! I am honored to be included with artists I have loved forever and artists I am seeing for the very first time! All of the works are interesting, and to think they are done by "old women?" Your blog is amazing!Reply
Reading this morning for the second time through! Taking time to look up many on IG and their websites. What a treat. Totally respond to Rachel Friedberg when she says ".. My mind is as adventurous now as it was when I was young, but my body is not. I’ve needed to adapt my work and processes to the realities of my physical limitations. But my need to express myself and the human condition continues." And also Susan Shutan when she says : "Being over 60 has become a battle with time. I want to not be forgotten. This has made me more fierce, in search of bigger challenges, taking more risks with stronger clarity in my work. Nothing is daunting despite aches, pains, and surgeries. I stir my pot because honestly, what have I got to lose?" Both resonate as I worked to become a committed artist as a second career and playing a lot of "catch up." Thank you as always for your curation, and incredible writing and editing skills which allow us to move through this visual exhibit in a coherent and intriguing way.Reply
thank you Joanne for taking the time to put this together and for including my work. it is exciting to see some friends and be introduced to some new work. and by the way, i forgot to include my age... i am a very proud 62... and will be 63 in another month...shine on the wisdom of woman who paint (or make) and age.Reply
Wonderful wonderful. As a woman artist who reached the age of 60 two days ago, I feel inspired, passionate, excited and so grateful to all the women who continue to create as they get older. Most special is the quote from Nancy Koenigsberg 'I’m turning 90 this year. As I move ahead with my work...' I do hope I too am 'moving ahead with my work' when I'm 90!Reply
Enjoyed viewing this so much! Many artists are familiar names- this is a great opportunity /reminder to view their work further.Reply
I played a game with myself while viewing the images, blocking out parts of the artist's names so they were gender neutral (meaning male). A new view of art history ensued! Thank you for this valuable work and journal
I am shocked that some of these friends are 60 and over and further shocked that some that I do not know are 90 and still working. The comment "When I paint I am not 62" is perfect. It is what happens. Also to see some work of friends that I have not seen before is wonderful.Reply
Congratulations on your birthday and letting us celebrate with you.
Very Very accomplished workQ I set aside Liz D Swiebel and A. Arlene Slavin as images to post to support the show. Q. What is the Feminist Vision that is being presented?
Thank you for showing such beautiful work, and making the point about ageism. I have always thought that the work just gets richer as one gets older. I don't fit into that category yet, but I do aspire to be as inspired an artists as each one you have chosen, now and when I do get there.Reply
Really great to see the work of these amazing artists! Sorry I missed your call, there are so many women artists in the UK too it would be amazing to spread out this survey. It's a been a very male focused art world here for a long time but things seem to be opening out a bit now!Reply
Wonderful and inspiring collection of women artists work! Thank you so much for this. As a woman artist who is turning 62 tomorrow I do not plan on stopping making art. I feel that I have not yet created my best work. Creating art is what keeps me alive here in this mortal coil especially in these times.Reply
Awesome compilation and exciting to see women artists over 60. But -- what happened to video / media female artists?Reply
Did you see my note at the end of the article, "How I selected these artists"?
Hey friends, all these questions about why didn't I select this genre or that, and why did I put out my Call in the middle of the summer, and why did I open only to my Facebook friends, and why and why and why. I'm a working artist who took a big chunk of time out of my painting practice to do this, so I'm getting a bit impatient with these questions. Also, all of you who loved this post, my blog can use your support in the form of a modest donation. Please support the people who support the ideas that are important to you. Thank you.Reply
Each image is so arresting, and after many scrolls (up and down), I feel that the flow of images is itself an education – it seems inevitable while being full of surprises. What an eye, Joanne!. Thank you for honoring us 60+ artists, even some (!) who feel their art has miles to go. Seeing your post inspires me to get busier.Reply
Immensely enjoyed by someone who is well over 60 and, though not an artist, learning to appreciate life's achievements, I thank you for compiling this collection. Additionally I am honored to be a friend of Margaret Suchland and proud owner of one of her amazing works of Marking Time.Reply
I feel I have spent time at an art gallery, soaking in the thoughts and images. I so resonate with this. Art and creativity have been the anchor of my life, although I've never been a working artist. Last year I turned 80 and wrote my first poem. The poems are still pouring out. I echo the freedom and fullness that age can bring. Thanks you for the images, the words and the attitude!Reply
- firstname.lastname@example.orgAugust 18, 2017 at 11:35 AM
Your survey is a welcome and much needed insight into lesser or unknown female artists who have long careers. Thank you for bringing them into the light. I would love to see you produce a yearly presentation, so that more deserving and quality artists can be documented. I am speaking from a personal point of view as well.Reply
Thank you, Pamela Casper