Muse as Artist - opening

Sunday, December 8, 2-5pm
Alameda 6 (Google maps 5)

Muse as Artist - opening

By Kathleen Cammarata

A muse is a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative person. Women were the muses and men were the artists for centuries in Western painting. Dora Maar for Picasso, Georgette Berger for Magritte, Tahitian girls for Gauguin. “I did my utmost to depict the emotion the sight of the female body GAVE me,” said Matisse.

The 20th century opens with female artists claiming their own space in the art world. Women’s accelerated entry into this world at this time coincided with the birth of psychoanalysis. There was a new interest in self-knowledge which caused a sudden rash of female self portraits in the nude. Woman had become her own muse.

Annie Evans, a sculptor, and Kathleen Cammarata, a painter and drawer, are two such artists. Evans creates mythological female figures in clay. She uses her own body to work out the pose. The faces on her sculptures have expressions that reflect her features and her emotions. “If I want a perplexed expression I look in the mirror and model the piece on my facial muscles”, she says.

In the piece “Até,”named after the Greek goddess of mischief and folly, the eyebrows are raised and the eyes are questioning. The head is tipped as if listening to the moon white mask held in her left hand. The right hand embraces the left breast in sympathy. In the piece “Artemis,” the goddess of wild animals and the hunt, the eyes are searching the sky and the hands form a heart shape over the breast. Evans states, “My figures honor women. I want them to look strong and in command of themselves.”

Cammarata plays with the concept of dame, a woman of rank and authority. Though the drawing series is titled “Dames” each drawing has a lighthearted name. “Whimsey” is a nude balancing one small ball on her shoulder and a second on the back of her hand. Her face is featureless though she appears to be looking over her shoulder at the viewer. “Harmony” alohas a ball rolling on her upper arm as her empty face seems to gaze at the viewer. In a series of drawings called “Melanges,” the female body is distorted. Melange means a mixture of incongruous elements and these bodies have two different size legs, extremely small or large breasts some floating up and some hanging heavily down. The faces only have smiling lips. Cammarata says, “No depiction of the body can be neutral”.

Evans has a graduate degree in Developmental Psychology. She attended the Atlanta college of Art where she discovered clay. Her work can be seen at Magenta Gallery.

Cammarata has taught art in two museums and a university in the States. Her work can be seen in her studio by appointment.

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