Pearls from artists* # 412Julho 22, 2020
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The obstacles faced by women who hoped to leave a mark on humankind have, through the millennium, varied in height but not in stubborn persistence. And yet, a great many women have stubbornly ignored them. The desire to put words on a page or marks on a canvas was greater than the accrued social forces that told them they had no right to do so, that they were excluded by their gender from that priestly class called artist. The reason, according to Western tradition, was as old as creation itself: For many, God was the original artist and society had assigned its creator a gender – He. The woman who dared to declare herself an artist in defiance of centuries of such unwavering belief required monstrous strength, to fight not for equal recognition and reward but for something at once more basic and vital: her very life. Her art was her life. Without it, she was nothing. Having no faith that society would broaden its views on artists by dethroning men and accommodating women, in 1928 [Virginia] Woolf offered her fellow writers and painters a formula for survival that allowed them to create, if not with acceptance, then at least unimpeded. A woman artist, she said, needed but two possessions: “money and a room of her own.”
Mary Gabriel in Ninth Street Women
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