James and I visited Pam Butler’s studio in early May during the Marie Walsh Sharpe open studios. I’m a big fan of her recent installations and paintings. She’s now exploring works related to Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Here is a short statement on the current work:
I have of late been thinking a lot about what it means to be a female artist inside of not just a very male tradition but one where the depiction of the female is among the most prominent subject matters in the historical arch of the tradition. When doing a piece for a themed group show this past summer, where I used Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as my starting point, my research brought some of the very masculine-ness of this tradition home to me. The second figure from the left in this painting, the figure (the prostitute) pointed to by the angle of suggestive table of fruit was based on Ingres’ painting “The Source”. To further complicate this is the story of the Ingres model, the 16 year old daughter of his landlady. “What care I that the virtue of some sixteen-year-old maid was the price for Ingres’ La Source? That the model died of drink and disease in the hospital is nothing when compared with the essential that I should have La Source, that exquisite dream of innocence.” (George Moore “Confessions of a Young Man”). As I think of these artists and their subject matter it’s not the painters I identify myself with nor the innocent idealized virgin of The Source but the landlady’s daughter herself, used as needed then forgotten. And that leads me back where can I locate myself as a female painter inside of this tradition.
Here is one more image, showing an installation:
You can view additional images I took during the visit on flickr.