Explores the art of influential feminist artist Nancy Spero (1926-2009), and also the principles and aims of her work, her artistic thought, sources, and innovative techniques.
Among the most influential artists of the past half-century, Nancy Spero (1926-1009) created a defiant and joyful body of work whose importance is due both to its innovative melding of graphic techniques with ambitious formats and its engagement with fundamental aesthetic and social issues rooted in gender. Working in isolation for decades, she was a pioneer of the women's movement in art who gained wide recognition only in her sixties. Spero's "project" as an artist was to speak through her art to make women visible in history and the contemporary world. She defied the silencing and marginality imposed on her as an artist and a woman. Spero began as a painter but in the mid-1960s emerged as a strikingly original graphic artist. In the 1970s, she developed her signature formats, long friezelike compositions and hangings composed of vertical strips, which featured collaged and hand-printed figures as well as large printed letters and blocks of bulletin typewriter text. A long-standing preoccupation with female archetypes and her increasingly determined feminism culminated in her 1974 decision to use only images of women in her work, in order to present "woman as protagonist." Moving from works on paper to hand-printing directly on walls in the late 1980s, she created an array of innovative installations throughout the world in her final two decades. Drawing on many interviews with Spero and extensive research in the artist's archives, the author outlines the principles and aims of her work, explores her artistic thought, and examines her sources and innovative techniques. -- from Book Jacket