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Oregon WCA Artists

OWCA Meeting Minutes November 24, 2013 KNOW-HOW: Women’s Sexuality in Art

PRESENT: Una Kim, Jan Carpenter, Harriet Levi, Karen Swallow, Nancy Carr, Stasia Cabral, Kerri Evonuk, Joan Glebow, and OWCA President 2013, Catherine J. H. Miller.

Hosted by artist/musician and OWCA member Nancy Carr.

Speaker: Una Kim 

The event was a talk and discussion by Una Kim on “sexuality, gender and art”.  Ms. Kim is an adjunct professor in art at both Portland State University and Portland Community College. She received her MFA in painting from the Parsons School of Design, and her BFA in studio art from the University of Southern California. Una was a past president of the OWCA and one of the first recipients of the Madeline Award from OWCA in 2013 for her service to the art community and to OWCA.

“Feminism and/or artist- Women’s Sexuality and Art” was a paper written by Una Kim and delivered at the seminar “Feminism and Women’s Art; simila11-24-2013_KNOW-HOW_Una Kim_talkrities and differences” at Kyongpook National University in Daegu, South Korea as part of “Cultural Sensibilities V”. Present at this exhibit and seminar were Russian, Korean and American artists.(from OWCA).

Una began by raising the question, “ What do we do with masogenistic painters like Pollock and Picasso? No painting is ever neutral. How do we deal with graffiti?

She compared Manet’s 1865 painting “Olympia” to Titian’s 1538 painting “The Venus of Urbino”. Ms. Kim pointed out the difference in the gaze of the reclining nude. In Manet’s, the woman is looking straight out at the viewer in a very direct and honest way, saying “here I am” accept me or not. In Titian’s work, the nude has a very coquettish look on her face and her hand lies next to her vulva, almost pointing at it, whereas the Manet’s woman has her hand over her private parts. We had a discussion about the significance of the depth of field in the 2 paintings and the significance of the black maid holding fresh flowers in the Monet.

The next painting Ms. Kim discussed was the self portrait as an artist by Artemesia Genteleschi. She portrays herself as a strong woman, with a powerful arm. We discussed the rape and trial of the man who raped Artemesia and whether that affected her painting, such as “Judith with the head of Holofornes”.

The last painting we saw and discussed was Courbet’s “The Origin of the World”. It has always been met with much controversy and was never shown publicly until the 1989. It is a painting of a woman’s naked crotch, with no face, just a close up of the vulva. It was made for a Turkish wealthy patron, and kept in a drawer for many years. Ms. Kim loves this painting and feels it embodies an acceptance and love of women’s sexuality as the source of all creation.

We briefly discussed feminist approaches in later art, but the main thrust of the discussion was attitudes towards women’s sexuality as painted by the classical masters.

Submitted by Harriet Levi, OWCA board member

Photographs by new member Stashia Cabral (Gallery page for this member is under construction).

Download Una Kim’s Paper Feminist And/Or Artist here.


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