When a wrong idea possesses a woman, much bitterness flows from her tongue. - Euripides
The above quote was found on page 47 of a book called 'Woman in Epigram,' which itself is part of the latest exhibition at the Gallery@Artisan Square. The artist is Emily van Lidth de Jeude, and the exhibition is called Woman Story and opened January 9th.
"The book belonged to my Grandmother, or maybe my Great-Grandmother," says van Lidth de Jeude. "Open to any page and you will find epigrams that are interesting, insulting and profound. The book comes with a pair of white cotton gloves, because it makes your hands dirty. Literally."
The show is made up, among other things, of paintings on plywood, hanging comments written by a wide assortment of women, a hand-painted wedding gown titled "Support Garment", wearable pubic hairs, and a mannequin.
"I got the mannequin to model the wearable pubic hair," says van Lidth de Jeude, "but in the end she didn't end up wearing them. I had to repaint her, to make her look less fake, and then I got this idea about the measuring tape because I find it strange that we end up comparing ourselves to a woman made of resin that comes in a box and you have to put it together"
The measuring tape is double-sided, and instead of numbers, it offers things that a girl or woman might try to measure up to, like kissing a boy, fitting-in, getting a diamond ring or, losing weight. The other side offers things that anyone can live up to: playing freely, feeling love, enjoying food.
"I've been working on this particular show for a few years," says van Lidth de Jeude, "but really I have been working on this subject matter my whole life. It's about self-worth and belonging, which affects all of us in the most mundane ways, like deciding what to wear in the morning, and being fearful that you don't look good enough. I don't think this is a problem necessarily unique to women, but as a woman, it is most straightforward for me to relate to the subject from that perspective."
Raising a boy, she says, has made her uniquely aware of all the pressures that are put on men.
"I actually think they might suffer more from this kind of thing than women do," she says.
With that, her son Taliesin, 11, had his own contribution to the show.
"He brought me this page from his Asterix comic book, and it actually kind of fit in," van Lidth de Jeude says. "I was a little bit surprised by that so I've included it."
A reception and performance will be held for Woman Story on January 12th, 7pm at the Gallery@Artisan Square.