Rural Women: Voice and Spirit

The artistic study, entitled Rural Women: Voice and Spirit, showcases the various and integral roles rural women have played in agricultural production.

Although historically undervalued, unrecognized and underserved, the perspective and history of rural women is essential to understanding the changing landscape of farming family life.

A collection of paintings, corresponding literary selections will provide exhibition goers with a comprehensive and integrated view of various, and at times conflicting cultures of farming, agricultural ecology and land stewardship issues, and evolving farming family roles and relationships, all from the unique and rarely heard perspective of rural women.

The subject matter of this project reaches all members of our communities (rural and urban alike), as reflected in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the landscape in which we live.  The artistic content of the exhibit will provide the inspiration and opportunity for audiences to better understand and empathize with rural women and their families as they navigate the swiftly changing tides of global agricultural trends, perceptions of optimal and appropriate land use, and rural lifestyle expectations and standards. It is hoped that the voice and spirit of these rural women, as artistically depicted and displayed in the traveling exhibition, will provide a bridge of greater understanding between Wisconsin’s rural and urban communities, and increase general awareness statewide of some of the most dynamic and complex challenges facing today’s farmers and farming families.

04 Katie

“Family farmers live a committed life.
Committed, in their way of living in this world.
This way of living, seems quite contrary to what our world would consider
successful or important.

Family farmers understand that they have been given
a vocation in this world to do what is best for the land.
People who farm understand that they must have a sense of
patience and gentleness about the rhythms of the land.

Family farmers are committed to sustaining rural life.

The rigidity of the corporate world, mechanizing everything
is not right for the land. The rhythm, patience and gentleness
does not exist.

We are all in this together.

Together we can hold onto the land, keeping it graced.”

Miriam Brown, OP
Sustaining Heart in the Heartland: Exploring Rural Spirituality.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

01 Clearing #1&2

 

The Clearing

Vision must have severity
at its edge:

against neglect,
bushes grown over the pastures,
vines riding down
the fences, the cistern broken;

against the false vision
of the farm dismembered,
sold in pieces on the condition
of the buyer’s ignorance,
a disorderly town

of “ houses in the country”
inhabited by strangers;

Wendell Berry
The Clearing
Excerpts from The Clearing

05 Lost My Melody

 

I’ve Lost my Melody

Since childhood I have been aware of a kind of melody which was my own.
Not in the background of my life-but in my life. It seemed to be the form and texture if everything I did, everything I would become, everything I   longed for, everything I loved. I sensed it constantly. The melody of me  swirled through every day and even in my dreams. I do not sense the   melody as strongly now.

The great cords are here but the melody is gone. Where is it? How can I get it to return? Where did I loose it? How did it happen? Does it matter when or how it left? I think not, only that it is not with me anymore.

Perhaps it was a prelude waiting to become a song, full and true, composed of all notes previously struck. Where can I find my new refrain?
Is there a new tempo-unexpected, wild and free, waiting to be heard?
Must I purposefully search or will it find me? I only know that I long for those sustaining notes to bare me up, to join me with the wider world.

Judy Douglas
February 2002
Retired farmer activist poet
Brodhead Wisconsin

 

More artwork at www.kellyparkssnider.com see exhibitions

 

 

More Advertising Lies

 

Historian and social activist Howard Zinn captures the significance of art in these words:

“Whenever I become discouraged, I lift my spirits by remembering: The artists are on our side! Artists speak to the world in a way that is impervious to assault because they wage the battle for justice in a sphere which is unreachable by the dullness of ordinary political discourse.”

A forced multi-sensory art experience…a new look at the same media taken out of daily context.

Art creates tension.  The tension transforms, focusing us to look carefully.

Women we are here for a higher purpose.

Surrounded by the rectangular tangle of steel flowers are three video screens presenting a bombardment of poisonous images and vital lies. Multi-textured sounds, jittery voices, variously-pitched noises, and distorted media images offer the viewer a forced multi-sensory experience…a new look at the same media they see every day, taken out of daily context.

 This assault of sounds and images is meant to make viewers uncomfortable.

 In today’s media culture, the absurd has become the living reality for our young girls. Mainstream media uses “cutting–edge” techniques to cash-in on successful advertising campaigns that promote overly sexualized images of children and young girls, and demeaning stereotypes of young women.  Many advertisements misrepresent what truly is beautiful.  They glamorize violence against women, minimize women by depicting them as objects, and create unhealthy standards of thinness.

Because of the sheer volume of cultural space in our lives occupied by advertising, it is crucial to examine it, deconstruct it, and understand it.

Creative collaborators -Kelly Parks Snider, Jane Bartell, Mary Waitrovich and Inger Stole       Check it out and please share!  www.crabby-girl.com

brainwashing

Brand Brainwashing tells the story of a young girl’s search for her identity.  She attempts to solve her problems by taking a trip to the mall  As it does for many of us, this process leaves her feeling played. …not to mention her pockets empty.

Marketing claims are tricky and we need to learn what they sound like and understand the motives behind them so that they will have no control over us. It seems unthinkable that the destructive attacks on our youth are created by corporate boards composed largely of members who are themselves parents or grandparents of young children.  Yet, this is a daily occurrence. Our violent imaginations, our passivity, society’s selfishness, our negative attitudes, as well as many of our public health and environmental problems are linked directly to endless roads of corporate greed.

the roaring twenties

The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote but did it create the lasting

change that the women liberators had imagined? 1920sbeauty   1920

Advertisers created new images – a slender, sexual and more youthful beauty image different from the motherly image from the past decade. Many young women interpreted new freedom as an opportunity for expanding individuality. Many refused to accept old fashioned ideas about women and duties. In many ways Feminism perished as did the radical  values of the progressive era that centered on women alleviating social injustices that accompanied the industrial revolution. hoover So many new thingamajigs to buy …automobiles,  radios, and vacuums. Women spurred this huge expansion in economy. New aspirations …  consumption is  hard work. coneyIsland

Beauty secrets – Hollywood, Coney island,  glam and romantic love.

Hollywood and ads taught women how to behave and what to buy. stalled

Pink collar workers.  We have been stalled …  1920 women earned 60 cent for every dollar earned by men… today the figure is around  77 cents.  manworship

More man worshipping

Harlem and explosive creative energy and the Jazz Age.billieH

 

 

If you ever doubted the effects of advertising …..Here’s one for you Edward Bernay, considered by many to be the founder of advertising partnered with Tobacco. While men smoked cigarettes, it was not acceptable for the gals.  Tobacco and Bernay needed to convince us that smoking was attractive, interesting and fascinating. Still humming about the suffrage movement, Bernay caged that enthusiasm, and used it as the basis for his new campaign. Bernays staged a dramatic public display of women smoking during the Easter Day Parade in New York City. He then told the press to expect that women suffragists would light up “torches of freedom” during the parade to show they were equal to men. Advertisers have had a lasting impact smoking.

 

smoking

A sageism

sageisms

 

coffee-is-life

Confusing commercial  noises are wrongfully calling us to listen to those in our world who dominate—the so-called-attractive, the rich and successful. The pursuit of what our consumer culture considers “happiness” can leave us feeling full of despair.  We are in a constant material pursuit of conspicuous consumptions, always living for what is out of reach… fine clothes, the fountain of youth, beautiful things to buy.  The unending pursuit often leaves us feeling  anxious and obsessed… always wanting more and more… always reinforcing our differences.

Depart from this non-essential contest …  don’t let the cup you choose define the greatness of your coffee.

susanb

 

… advertising history

…. ever notice that advertising works best when we feel the worst?

For centuries, women of all skin colors, sizes and ages have made a difference in the world. Our world depends on women BUT these women are rarely depicted in media.

This collage follows the evolution of how advertising and mass media has shaped the role of American women in the 20th Century. This narrative explores the relationship between  the history of women and advertising’s far-reaching influences. The imagery reflects the political, economic and social realities  of each decade and illustrates a range of tactics that often sent  deceptive negative messages women swallowed and the rest of society  accepted.collage

The Progressive Era- Maternalistic Politics

At the end of the 19th century, reform meant dealing with a  variety of social problems related to industrialization. Waves of  immigrants were arriving, urbanization and overcrowded slums,  high rate of disease, and infant mortality.slum

 

votes

Mass media has always presented women in limited and predictable roles -domestic caregivers, sexual object or as  man worshippers.

manworship1manworship2

Advertising sells products but the effects are far more reaching. Ads sell values, goals, attitudes and behaviors.

“Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”  First expressed by Thomas Jefferson, and later adopted by Susan B. Anthony, now inspired a new generation of revolutionaries in quest for liberty.

Women were the targets and how to reach them was the big question.

seekandfind

Seek and find puzzles where used to engage women to look  more carefully at ads and find products. The concern was how to reach women and educate  them about advertising.

After 1900 the sheer amount of flesh on display had decreased. Bulging bellies, breasts, and buttocks gave way to firmer, tighter, more youthful figures. Men became more boyish, girls more girlish. The imagery showed a definite movement away from mother figures to the giggling teenagers of the 1920’s.

chub11920

New stuff to buy – Fashion focus, especially for young immigrant women, new hairstyles, cosmetics and soap. Readymade clothes and food, along with silent movies, and Coney Island. Exciting department’s stores, mail order catalogues, and barns painted with signs. Magazines-. Ads allowed magazine to be affordable publishers realized that they could sell magazines below cost and still make a profit. Eventually, ads began to influence the content of the editorials, features and layouts.

Given the influential role of media in our society, it is fair to  assume that the role that women decided to undertake were in part , influenced by advertising agencies, corporations, and government representation. Although it is difficult to measure the impact, it is easy to see that these images had concrete social consequences.

Do Your Own Thing

RealArt

Forever, the beauty industry perpetuates an illusion. False images and non-realities fill magazine pages…featuring models that don’t exist and products that don’t work. The tactics that they use pierce our self-esteem. Like everyone else, I have been dulled by our world’s beauty distractions. At times, my eyes stop seeing what is truly beautiful.

From a very early age, we are bombarded with THEIR images of ideal female beauty. They work  hard to persuade us that trying to be beautiful, thin, sexy andpopular, wrinkle free, sag proof …..blahblah …..is what should be most important in our lives. They want us to spend asmuch time, energy, and money as possible trying to look perfect like the images we seein the magazines, on TV, and in the movie. All of this so they can keep the economic wheel moving forward in one direction with no concern for our true wellbeing.

The Natural Woman

The Natural Women was created a few years ago. The women in the purple dress resembles my forward thinking and very stylish Grandmother.  You have my permission to make a copy of her. Hang her on the wall. She will serve as your reminder to live virtuously, transcend your own beauty insecurities and never t let the suckers bring you down.

rat019

Lipstick obsession!

eatshit

Reminder – Live your life freely and LOVE yourself without measure!

Commercial Land

realbeautyth

Art gives us a focus, bringing us face to face with ourselves, our relationship,  with others and the culture that surrounds us. It has something to do with the stillness we experience while we create or look at art. That brief stillness allows us to attend to the thoughts that we feel in the chaos of our lives, unlocking new perspectives and opening eyes to new ways of interpreting this world. In many ways, we have become passive bystanders, viewers of a commercially generated culture. Through television, radio, the endless array of magazines, public plasma screens ….. the internet …… we take in vast amounts of information, not always doing the best job filtering it.

Open yourself! Allow some part, a memory, an image in this art to embrace you. Commercial Land is a collage that tells the story about the corporate influences in today’s world. Influences that wrongfully send us messages that say more is better, money equals happiness and consumption is the goal in life. This clutter excites every nerve in our body and keeps us at the highest pitch of artificial tension … always wanting more. The perpetual pursuit of Commercial Land leaves most of us feeling exhausted, empty and unfulfilled.

How does media affect the way you see the world? By examining my own observations of our present media-based culture, I have come to realize that the reality in which we live in is far more polluted than the reality of my youth.

corpcurr

Project Girl is a nonprofit organization and nationally touring exhibit. Project Girl is a youth-led initiative that combines art, media literacy and youth-led activism into a national project aimed at encouraging us to be better interpreters of this world.

logo

Project Girl is a nonprofit organization and nationally touring exhibit. Project Girl is a youth-led initiative that combines art, media literacy and youth-led activism into a national project aimed at encouraging us to be better interpreters of this world.