The Modernism Project
July 1 - July 31
A selection of work from the 40 pieces in The Modernism Project will be on view in the Back Room Gallery for July. An accompanying booklet with biographical information for each woman portrayed will be available to view with the works.
Artist Kim Rae Taylor painted a series of portraits documenting the female artists, writers, poets, performers, and art patrons of all types who helped shape Modernism. Women were an integral part of the avant-garde during the early decades of the twentieth century, making significant contributions to modern art and literature. The portraits capture some of these women in their later years since many lived long and productive lives. As an ongoing series, the paintings serve as a visual extension of Taylor’s research of the women of the modern era, examining the broad scope of their careers within the context of gender and aging.
Though the paintings do capture the women as they looked late in life, the supporting material that displays alongside the paintings features photos of each subject and short biographical information about their lives. My primary objective in creating the portraits is to raise awareness of the women and the significant contributions they made during a pivotal period in the arts.
From the artist:
Through my research I’ve primarily focused on the women who emerged in the period
marked by Gertrude Stein’s 1903 arrival in Paris and spanning the next four decades
until her death in 1946. In a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stein writes, “One does not get
better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.” Though Stein died just as
World War II ended, many of her contemporaries lived well into the latter part of the
twentieth century, including her partner Alice B. Toklas, who lived to be 89 years old. It’s
remarkable how many modernist women lived to a significantly old age, and the work
they created beyond the framework of the interwar years provides an important
continuum to more effectively appreciate the totality of their cultural contributions.
In painting the women I’m dependent solely on photographs, most of which are black
and white, so I look for opportunities to capture a particular expression, maybe an angle
the camera has caught, something that provides a visceral point of connection to each
subject. We are the sum of our parts, an adage that obviously applies to the human
experience; however, when addressing the arts, individual experience finds a creative
outlet, a way to culminate in an outward form of unique, personal expression. I also
find it relevant to consider the turbulent events and socio-political climate of this
modernist era, and how it undeniably had a profound influence on these unique
women. Creativity in the face of adversity is profound, and perhaps it allowed these
women to persevere.
–Kim Rae Taylor
For more information about the series, along with additional paintings, visit: www.kimraetaylor.net/