finding a profound sense of feminine space with Nasreen and Helena– posted in Boulder, Colorado, April 1st, 2016

 

The image above on the left is a portrait of Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937 -1990) from the 1970s. The image on the right is a portrait of me embodying Nasreen Mohamedi before I made the trip to India to seek out her work in 2014. Next week I am going to New York to see the largest exhibition of Nasreen Mohamedi’s work ever at the new Met Breuer!

http://www.metmuseum.org/press/exhibitions/2016/nasreen-mohamedi

You can see in the six images below (of Mohamedi’s work and my own) how Nasreen Mohamedi has influenced my work. I am obviously not copying Mohamedi’s style but I have been inspired, enlightened and encouraged by her remarkable work. Mohamedi “looks” with a metaphysical eye in her delicate linear drawings and spare photographs. Her work is transcendent and sublime. As I have recorded on this blog previously, her art practice has affected me deeply. I met curator Roobina Karode (the curator of this exhibit at the Met Breuer) at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Contemporary Art in Delhi. I looked at Mohamedi’s work closely and also learned about her life story – which is wonderful, sad and compelling. The photographs that I took in Delhi in 2014 with Nasreen as my imaginary “guide” became templates for a drawing practice in my studio at home. I made these drawings in ink and graphite and gouache on a large architectural drawing board. This drawing practice is more exacting and physical than my previous drawing methods (though still not as meticulous as Nasreen’s.) One of the things I “draw” from Mohamedi is a strong sense of connection to space: architectural space, the space of my own body as perceiver and as renderer, the space of the paper, and the spaciousness of my own mind. I think this work is very feminine (both mine and Nasreen’s) and I can’t tell you why exactly.

 

72 16 x 12 Mohamedi GQ-India-MET-mohamedi

Nasreen Mohamedi, Untitled, ink and graphite on paper, ca. 1970.

 

72 16 x 16 04-nasreen_mohamedi_4

Nasreen Mohamedi, Untitled, ink and graphite on paper, ca. 1970.

 

72 16 x 16 Mohamedi 1653

Nasreen Mohamedi, Untitled, ink and graphite on paper, ca. 1970.

 

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Sherry Wiggins, Out of India series, ink and graphite on paper, 2015

 

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Sherry Wiggins, Out of India series, ink and graphite on paper, 2015

 

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Sherry Wiggins, Out of India series, ink and graphite on paper, 2015

 

I stopped this specific drawing practice temporarily last fall to go to Portugal to look at Helena Almeida’s work and continue my investigations into feminine space there. I was inspired by Almeida to make new “drawings” using my own body.

 

72 15 x 11 Almeida_12 (1)

Helena Almeida, Pintura Habitada, photograph with acrylic paint, 1977.

Discovering Helena Almeida’s work was also a revelation for me. It is such beautiful, conceptually sound, personal and feminine work. Also I just love that color blue! Almeida has used her body in her work in black and white photos often painted with the special blue paint over a span of 40 years. Almeida questions the notion of artistic space in a unique way – trained as a painter, she inserts herself in the “painting” as both material and author. I created a large body of work while at the Obras Foundation in Portugal (much of which is documented on this blog) that was emboldened and empowered by Helena Almeida’s work. My body of works from Portugal is distinctly feminine work – there is a sense of vulnerability, vitality and power. The sequence of works titled Performing the Drawing below express these qualities of a profound feminine space in a visceral way.

 

72 13.5 x 13.5 DJI_0023-P2424 copy

72 16 x 16 grid performing the drawing copy

images above: Sherry Wiggins, Performing the Drawing, nine color images printed on watercolor paper, 24” x 24” each, 2015, photography by Rui Fernandes

Helena Almeida and Nasreen Mohamedi have helped set me on a course where I am discovering and uncovering a profound sense of feminine space in my work. I intend to stay on this track in my art practice. I am so excited to see Nasreen Mohamadi’s work next week – it is like looking forward to seeing a dear and important friend. Try to see this exhibit in New York at the Met Breuer through June 5th. Also check out the short video about Mohamedi’s work on the Met website below:

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2016/nasreen-mohamedi

Also Helena Almeida’s big exhibit is up at the Jeu de Palme in Paris through May 22nd.

http://www.jeudepaume.org/index.php?page=article&idArt=2484

 

 

4 thoughts on “finding a profound sense of feminine space with Nasreen and Helena– posted in Boulder, Colorado, April 1st, 2016

  1. OMG, I love Helena! Being a mover, expressing through the form and movement of the body, I love her sensibility. There is a feminine stillness in her work, but it moves through over time. Her work (and she) is gorgeous. Nasreen is more minimal and cerebral, which I am fascinated by, and urn to be more less in my being, which in turn, creates more space to become fuller in a way.

    Your work, of course I love. I love your inspiration and Out of India is sensational. I think what you did with “performing the Drawing”, is stunning, and rich. The stark water color background, black garment, the movement in the stillness, reveals something special. I love it Sherry and I am fond of your sensibility, as well… per usual dear!
    Great to see you last eve, btw… XO

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    1. Lovedy – of course you would love Helena Almeida’s workK: her physicality, her beauty – like you dear Lovedy. I wish you could go to Paris to see her show.
      Thank you for your comments and it was wonderful to see you the other night. xo Sherry

      Like

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