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Les Femmes Folles

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Jennifer Nagle Myers, artist

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Jennifer Nagle Myers: Self portrait in studio with new work called ‘Sacredesecrated’, Color photograph, 2014
I interrupt Our Intimates National Poetry Month Series to bring you…
Jennifer Nagle Myers' exhibit at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts "Women in Time" closes this Sunday, April 20!  She then exhibits at Ortega y Gasset Projects in Queens, New York opening April 19, running thru May 18 (details below). She generously shares with LFF about the freedom of making art,  paying homage to the women of the world in her work and why that is important to her, and more…
Where are you from? How did you get into art?
I am from New York City.  I have been into art as long as I can remember.  Always drawing and always seeing art all around me as a child in Manhattan.  My parents were both writers and encouraged me to be creative.
 
Tell me about your inspirations, process.
I am continually inspired by almost everything around me.  I am always in process, making is an ongoing pursuit for me.  I try to have dedicated times for it of course where I close myself up in my studio and just work, but ultimately I feel that an artist is always at work even at the grocery store, and maybe most importantly at the grocery store.  I see art as a philosophy.  It doesn’t matter much the materials we use or the techniques we employ, it’s about freedom.  It’s all about freedom.  Being an artist means being OK with being as free as possible, and that is a sincere and important philosophy to have and claim in this world.
Tell me about your current/upcoming show/exhibit/project and why its important to you. 
I have a show up right now at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.  The show is called ‘Women in Time’ and the work is a way of paying homage to the women of the world who have gone before me, are with me now, and will follow me.  I spent alot of time thinking of women, about how we are treated and mistreated, about how we are unpaid and underpaid and repaid with strange favors, about how we are property and sold and bartered and still used like an object to throw around.  It’s ridiculous to me that we still don’t have the same rights as men, even in the US, where we get paid on average 77 cents to the dollar that the man makes.  It’s insane and something I just swallowed and grew up with…. we all do.  This show was a chance for me to slow down and really think about it all.  Of course I only scratched the surface but was able to get somewhere a little deeper within myself and my work, which is always the point.  The work includes a series of photographs of sculptures I have made - all called ‘First Place Woman’ - which are trophies for women who have been abused in one way or the other and need to be reminded they are number one.  They are transformed trophies - the kinds that we give our kids after they win at soccer - transformed with the materials of my studio.  I then photograph them and print them larger than life.  They go through another transformation here, and fill the gallery with their colorful and powerful presence.  The show also includes ‘The Never-Ending Book of Women’s Rights’, which has been on my mind for years.  It is a book that fulfills two functions.  Conceptually, it is a book that contains all of our names,  the name of every woman who ever lived.  We are all inside it.  Sculpturally, it is ongoing and I ask women and men to give me the names of women who have been important to them and I write these names slowly onto slate pages.  Each time I exhibit it, it will change shape and form.  Having people contribute names is a way of opening up the conversation and bringing people into the work.  A way for me to meet people and talk to them about women’s rights.  In the preface of the book I say: This book is alive with our names and will be used until women are free and equal, loved as the wild spirits we are and always have been.  Finally, the show contains a few drawings.  These are pastel and charcoal studies of the sculptures.  I use drawing to think.  
The next show I have opens in a week at Ortega Y Gasset Projects in New York.  The theme of the show is ‘Landlessness’, curated by Carrie Hott.  I will exhibit a new work (still being made right now) called ‘Sacredesecrated’.  This is a sculptural work that includes a modified wooden chair, pieces of slate, and a book in two parts.   This work speaks more to the sense of landlessness I feel happening all around me in Western Pennsylvania where I live and work - a place that is experiencing an unprecedented fracking boom and the amount of poisons being put into our water supply and land is incredible and terrifying.  I keep thinking about what is this world that destroys that which is sacred and then defends that violence…. and what does it mean to have something sacred turn desecrated?  It is still sacred.  Therefore it becomes sacredesecrated.  What do we do with that?  Do we even have the right tools?
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Women in Time: Jennifer Myers

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
February 7, 2014 to April 20, 2014

This series of sculptures and photographs is a tribute to the unknown women who’ve gone through life unrecognized, under-appreciated, and never awarded a trophy. Myers, an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Pittsburgh, uses discarded trophies and other materials to embellish and reclaim a place for those never rewarded. Myers received her MFA from the University of Iowa. She says the work continues to renounce and abolish the lingering concept that women are inferior to men.

Website: www.punkypip.com  

LANDLESSNESS
Becca Albee, Amanda Curreri, Nina Elder, Pablo Guardiola, and Jennifer Nagle Myers

April 19- May 18, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 19, 6-9pm
Organized by Carrie Hott

Ortega y Gasset Projects
17-17 Troutman #327
Queens, NY 11385
www.oygprojects.com
Press Contact: info@oygprojects.com

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Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code 2014BOOKS expires 4/30/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

(Win a FREE LFF Book!: Intimates & Fools, Les Femmes Folles Books’ Photo contest 2014!Details on the submissions page: http://femmesfollesnebraska.tumblr.com/callforart-writing)

Our Intimates and Our Fools: Poetry by Andrea Potos, art by Shawn Rathman-Stuhr

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"Wild Thing: Defeated," photograph by Shawn Rathman-Stuhr

THE BRA POEM

by Andrea Potos

To the prize-winning poet who says
she’s tired of poetry where women wax sentimental
about birthing, mothering,
worn subjects like menopause and menarche:

            You won’t want to hear how, in junior high,
I’d press my nipples in and out like tiny
collapsed balloons, waiting for them to fill.
How I yearned for graduation
from my cotton half-undershirt
to a padded bra with real hooks and eyes
my girlfriends could snap
when they snuck behind me;
             It won’t matter to you how,
the morning my mother and I returned
from Gimbels lingerie,
I pulled my best friend Cassie into the backyard
and in between the sheets drying on the line;
how I flung off my shirt for her, like a sculptor
unveiling the masterpiece it has taken her
twelve years to create—breasts
the color of sun-braised daffodils,
two cups to hold
my double A treasure.

The poem is forthcoming in Andrea Potos’ poetry chapbook NEW GIRL (Anchor and Plume Press, 2014).

Andrea Potos Bio: I live in Madison, Wisconsin and am the author of four poetry collections, including WE LIT THE LAMPS OURSELVES (Salmon Poetry) and YAYA’s CLOTH (Iris Press).  My poems appear widely in print and online.  

Shawn Rathman-Stuhr Bio: I live for the lens; for what it shows me and that it can, at times, push the boundaries of my vision.  I believe art should emote some sort of feeling in the viewer, but also in the artist.  I experience great satisfaction seeing my work through another person’s eyes.

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Our Intimates and Our Fools is a series by Les Femmes Folles throughout April 2014, celebrating National Poetry Month. Les Femmes Folles will post a poem and/or artwork every day on the theme inspired by the intimates we hold dear—be they brassieres, boy shorts, merry widow stays (and more, or less)—and those who foolishly (and adorably) love them. The theme sprung from Les Femmes Folles Books’ 2014 Intimates and Fools (poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, art by Sally Deskins). Coupling body art and poetry, ‘Intimates and Fools‘ intimates the complicating pairing of the female form and cultural notions of beauty while playfully seeking to bare and bear such burdens of their weight. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry explores notions of the bra and its place near the hearts of women, while contemplating literary and pop cultural allusions and illusions of such intimate apparel. Sally Deskins’ body art and illustrations make vivid and bright the female form while calling into question the cultural narratives on such various shapes we hold dear, be they natural, consumer, or whimsy. Available on amazon.

(Win a FREE LFF Book!: Intimates & Fools, Les Femmes Folles Books’ Photo contest 2014!Details on the submissions page: http://femmesfollesnebraska.tumblr.com/callforart-writing)

April 1: Troy Muller (art); mariana mcdonald (poetry)

April 2: Mary MacGowan (art); Jennifer MacBain Stephens (poetry)

April 3: Lauren Rinaldi (art); Amy Schriebman Walter (poetry)

April 4: Rhiannon Conley-Pierson (art); Patricia Wellingham-Johns (poetry)

April 5: Shannon E. Thomas (art) John Savoie (poetry)

April 7: Cindy Hinant (art); Phyllis Wax (poetry)

April 8: Wendy Jane Bantam (art); Laura Madeline Wiseman (poetry)

April 9: Amy Cerra (art); Christina Finlayson Taylor (poetry)

April 10: Dirty Haiku Project & Vanessa Raney

April 11: Kelly Blevins (art); Marjorie Tesser (poetry)

April 12: Patricia Izzo (art); Kate Falvey (poetry)

April 14: Dwora Fried (art); Sara Henning (poetry)

April 15: Bonnie MacAllister (art/poetry)

Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code 2014BOOKS expires 4/30/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

Our Intimates & Our Fools: Dirty Haiku Project & Vanessa Raney

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Poetry by Heather Sticka; photo by Rob Liliedahl for The Dirty Haiku Project

Vanessa Raney is an American living overseas. Inspired by similar work she saw in San Francisco, her first art poem appeared in *Woman in Mind*.  *Lalitamba* is forthcoming with the text-only version of an art poem series (for the art poem version see http://vanessa-raney2artpoemseries.blogspot.com/). Her publication history is at http://vanessa-raney.blogspot.com.

The Dirty Haiku Project
Description by Heather Sticka:

I love texting haiku. It forces me to be creative even if all I have to say is, “I miss you.”

"It is not easy,
To think about you always.
I am left bereft.”

That one’s my favorite. Not dirty at all but it’s a good example of a haiku text. So I went to cheer a friend by sending him dirty haiku. It was super fun! I wrote ten in the first day alone. Soon I started writing them in a tiny red leather book, showed them to others and watched the blood rise to their cheeks. I listed to them being read aloud and felt myself turn bright red to match the book’s cover. It was too much fun to not share.

Within a few days I asked Rob Liliedahl of Liliedahl Images if he’d be interested of taking pictures of my friends in their underwear. Now that I say that, I realize how odd of a question that is. But after explaining about the haiku I then explained that I was looking to take the poetry a step further and write them on skin framed by underthings. Rob is a great photographer and I knew he could capture what was in my head a thousand times better than me guessing with a camera for hours on end.

We did tests on a couple of very dear friends. We thought, hmmm… maybe we can shoot around 20 shots and then have a nice little art show. We thought maybe one shoot. We looked for about 10 volunteers and, so far, we have over 40. We are so very thankful to be able to capture all 69 haiku in photographs. We had art shows nearly every month in 2012 and we hope to have a coffee table book.

Thank you for looking. We wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want us to be.

As Always, With Love,

Heather Sticka, http://thedirtyhaikuproject.com/

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Our Intimates and Our Fools is a series by Les Femmes Folles throughout April 2014, celebrating National Poetry Month. Les Femmes Folles will post a poem and/or artwork every day on the theme inspired by the intimates we hold dear—be they brassieres, boy shorts, merry widow stays (and more, or less)—and those who foolishly (and adorably) love them. The theme sprung from Les Femmes Folles Books’ 2014 Intimates and Fools (poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, art by Sally Deskins). Coupling body art and poetry, ‘Intimates and Fools‘ intimates the complicating pairing of the female form and cultural notions of beauty while playfully seeking to bare and bear such burdens of their weight. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry explores notions of the bra and its place near the hearts of women, while contemplating literary and pop cultural allusions and illusions of such intimate apparel. Sally Deskins’ body art and illustrations make vivid and bright the female form while calling into question the cultural narratives on such various shapes we hold dear, be they natural, consumer, or whimsy. Available on amazon.

(Win a FREE LFF Book!: Intimates & Fools, Les Femmes Folles Books’ Photo contest 2014!Details on the submissions page: http://femmesfollesnebraska.tumblr.com/callforart-writing)

April 1: Troy Muller (art); mariana mcdonald (poetry)

April 2: Mary MacGowan (art); Jennifer MacBain Stephens (poetry)

April 3: Lauren Rinaldi (art); Amy Schriebman Walter (poetry)

April 4: Rhiannon Conley-Pierson (art); Patricia Wellingham-Johns (poetry)

April 5: Shannon E. Thomas (art) John Savoie (poetry)

April 7: Cindy Hinant (art); Phyllis Wax (poetry)

April 8: Wendy Jane Bantam (art); Laura Madeline Wiseman (poetry)

April 9: Amy Cerra (art); Christina Finlayson Taylor (poetry)

Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code 2014BOOKS expires 4/30/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

Our Intimates & Our Fools: Poetry by Phyllis Wax, Art by Cindy Hinant

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Cindy Hinant: Underwear, 2006, archival pigment prints, 5 x 7” each 

"Underwear is a project I made as a misunderstood sculpture student back in 2006.  I was trying to sell my worn underwear as sculptural objects.  I only sold one pair, I think I gave up and the rest ended up back in my laundry pile (you hear of master painters reusing canvas).  These photos are the only remnants left of that project, I’ve lost the documentation of the underwear-objects.  My university was relatively conservative, I remember that several students made formal complaints, but this project relates more to my current work than anything else I made in undergraduate school.” ~Cindy Hinant

Come Clean

by Phyllis Wax

Al Qaeda has infiltrated             

Victoria’s Secret.  Jockeying

to prevent an attack, patriotic

air travelers will gladly answer            

their country’s call.  In brief,                          

we’ll all strip                                

down to our undies

to get through security.

 

Phyllis Wax is passionate about poetry and likes to slip between the sheets with Erato in exotic places:  Thailand and Viet Nam, Turkey, Timbuktu, Machu Picchu.  She often writes about human rights issues.  When she’s not writing you might find her escorting at a local women’s clinic.  Or doing Sudoku.

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Cindy Hinant: Underwear (Sunday), 2006, archival pigment print, 5 x 7” 

Cindy Hinant received a BFA from the Herron School of Art and Design and holds a MFA from the School of Visual Arts.  She has had solo shows at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Joe Sheftel Gallery and 3A Gallery and has participated in group shows at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Museo de Arte El Salvador.

Our Intimates and Our Fools is a series by Les Femmes Folles throughout April 2014, celebrating National Poetry Month. Les Femmes Folles will post a poem and/or artwork every day on the theme inspired by the intimates we hold dear—be they brassieres, boy shorts, merry widow stays (and more, or less)—and those who foolishly (and adorably) love them. The theme sprung from Les Femmes Folles Books’ 2014 Intimates and Fools (poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, art by Sally Deskins). Coupling body art and poetry, ‘Intimates and Fools‘ intimates the complicating pairing of the female form and cultural notions of beauty while playfully seeking to bare and bear such burdens of their weight. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry explores notions of the bra and its place near the hearts of women, while contemplating literary and pop cultural allusions and illusions of such intimate apparel. Sally Deskins’ body art and illustrations make vivid and bright the female form while calling into question the cultural narratives on such various shapes we hold dear, be they natural, consumer, or whimsy. Available on amazon.

(Win a FREE LFF Book!: Intimates & Fools, Les Femmes Folles Books’ Photo contest 2014!Details on the submissions page: http://femmesfollesnebraska.tumblr.com/callforart-writing)

April 1: Troy Muller (art); mariana mcdonald (poetry)

April 2: Mary MacGowan (art); Jennifer MacBain Stephens (poetry)

April 3: Lauren Rinaldi (art); Amy Schriebman Walter (poetry)

April 4: Rhiannon Conley-Pierson (art); Patricia Wellingham-Johns (poetry)

April 5: Shannon E. Thomas (art) John Savoie (poetry)

Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code 2014BOOKS expires 4/30/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

Our Intimates & Our Fools: Poetry by Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Art by Rhiannon Conley-Pierson

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art by Rhiannon Conley-Pierson, http://tigerdogfarts.blogspot.com/

Committee    

by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

All dressed up
for the meeting
her secret self dances
inside the gray power suit.
It’s the only way
she can endure the boredom,
the meaningless words.
She gives an invisible squirm
on the hard chair
just to feel her silk panties slide.
Doesn’t try to pay attention.
Does try not to smile.

Patricia Wellingham-Jones is a former psychology researcher and writer/editor with poetry widely published in journals, anthologies and Internet magazines. She has a special interest in healing writing and leads a cancer center writing group, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press).

Rhiannon Conley-Pierson is a writer and artist living in North Dakota. Unfortunately her days as a graduate student and composition instructor do not typically call for girdles or garter belts, she is still a great fan of underthings that are difficult to remove. http://tigerdogfarts.blogspot.com/

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Our Intimates and Our Fools is a series by Les Femmes Folles throughout April 2014, celebrating National Poetry Month. Les Femmes Folles will post a poem and/or artwork every day on the theme inspired by the intimates we hold dear—be they brassieres, boy shorts, merry widow stays (and more, or less)—and those who foolishly (and adorably) love them. The theme sprung from Les Femmes Folles Books’ 2014 Intimates and Fools (poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, art by Sally Deskins). Coupling body art and poetry, ‘Intimates and Fools‘ intimates the complicating pairing of the female form and cultural notions of beauty while playfully seeking to bare and bear such burdens of their weight. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry explores notions of the bra and its place near the hearts of women, while contemplating literary and pop cultural allusions and illusions of such intimate apparel. Sally Deskins’ body art and illustrations make vivid and bright the female form while calling into question the cultural narratives on such various shapes we hold dear, be they natural, consumer, or whimsy. Available on amazon.

April 1: Troy Muller (art); mariana mcdonald (poetry)

April 2: Mary MacGowan (art); Jennifer MacBain Stephens (poetry)

April 3: Lauren Rinaldi (art); Amy Schriebman Walter (poetry)

Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code 2014BOOKS expires 4/30/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

Our Intimates & Our Fools: Poetry by Amy Schreibman Walter, Art by Lauren Rinaldi

Pen drawing by Lauren Rinaldi

BACHELOR GIRL, 1915

by Amy Schreibman Walter

In room after room at this museum
I think of you. Hopper’s Night on the El:
how we would study the lines
on each other’s faces in the night-time,
the only ones in the train car, your
hat in your lap, mine just over my eyebrows.
Winter outside, a candle burning
on the wooden dresser. We used to
light a candle; we had rituals.

Sloan’s Bachelor Girl stands alone
in her room.In kitten heels
she holds up a white dress
for inspection. In room after room
at this museum, these lone women
look in mirrors, try on dresses.

In my room after the museum
I decide to write to you,
because we used to talk
about the paintings and
you used to place your hands
tight around my waist, I remember
your warm hands carefully
unbuttoning my dress.

Amy Schreibman Walter is an American poet who lives in London. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Metazen, Elimae and Neon. Her debut chapbook, Coney Island and Other Places, was published by Lulu Press in 2013. amyschreibmanwalter.com

Lauren Rinaldi is an artist whose work tells intricate and personal stories exploring the meanings of encountering the unexpected through painting.  Her works depicting the female figure are meant to inhabit the space where the line between sexual empowerment and objectification is blurred. She draws inspiration from children’s books, old Hollywood, art history, meditations, memories, badly written paranormal romance novels, her cat and her surrounding environment. Lauren currently lives and works in Philadelphia with her husband and son and is represented by Paradigm Gallery + Studio. laurenrinaldi.tumblr.com

Our Intimates and Our Fools is a series by Les Femmes Folles throughout April 2014, celebrating National Poetry Month. Les Femmes Folles will post a poem and/or artwork every day on the theme inspired by the intimates we hold dear—be they brassieres, boy shorts, merry widow stays (and more, or less)—and those who foolishly (and adorably) love them. The theme sprung from Les Femmes Folles Books’ 2014 Intimates and Fools (poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, art by Sally Deskins). Coupling body art and poetry, ‘Intimates and Fools‘ intimates the complicating pairing of the female form and cultural notions of beauty while playfully seeking to bare and bear such burdens of their weight. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry explores notions of the bra and its place near the hearts of women, while contemplating literary and pop cultural allusions and illusions of such intimate apparel. Sally Deskins’ body art and illustrations make vivid and bright the female form while calling into question the cultural narratives on such various shapes we hold dear, be they natural, consumer, or whimsy. Available on amazon.

April 1: Troy Muller (art); mariana mcdonald (poetry)

April 2: Mary MacGowan (art); Jennifer MacBain Stephens (poetry)

Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code 2014BOOKS expires 4/30/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

Our Intimates & Our Fools: Poetry by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens; art by Mary MacGowan

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"watercolor painting of women’s lingerie" by Mary MacGowan: "I paint lingerie that is beloved and worn by their owners; I find it intriguing to discover the personal in the impersonal."

Nightie Night

by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Notes on “Nightie:” 1) a “sleeping outfit” that Laurie gave me for my thirtieth birthday. 2) colors: hot pink and black. 3) I have never worn it.  4) I hate the word “nightie” 5) everyone knows a piece of clothing like this is not bought for sleeping purposes. 6) It sits in the back of my top dresser drawer next to sports bras. 7) Being unworn, does this mean a) there is an absence of joy for my body? Or b) that I don’t like the color pink? Both of these things are not true, yet there lay the discarded nightie. To be descriptive, it is sleeveless (of course) with a ruffled edge, plunging V neck (because you would be shocked if I left out the word “plunging,”) and short, short.  8) Logistically, it is almost just a top. (One might even be confused if it is just a top or a top/bottom dress-like combo.) How do I get my head around this frilly landing pad? This Barbie curling iron hairdo dress? This Bette Midler saloon costume? Laurie is one of my best friends. Maybe she noted something I didn’t.

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens graduated from New York University, and currently lives in Iowa City, IA. She is the author of the chapbook “EveryHerDies,” (ELJ Publications, forthcoming 2014.) She has written four YA non-fiction books (Rosen Publishing) and has poems published in Emerge Literary Journal, Superstition Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Thirteen Myna Birds, Rufous City Review, Menacing Hedge, Stirring, Eunoia Review, Gravel Magazine, Burningwood Journal, Bitterzoet Magazine, and other journals online and in print. Jennifer recently placed in the Midwest Writing Center’s twenty-four hour writing extravaganza: The Iron Pen Contest. For a complete list of publications visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com/

Mary MacGowan is a poet and singer/songwriter and watercolorist.  reverbnation.com/marymacgowan

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Our Intimates and Our Fools is a series by Les Femmes Folles throughout April 2014, celebrating National Poetry Month. Les Femmes Folles will post a poem and/or artwork every day on the theme inspired by the intimates we hold dear—be they brassieres, boy shorts, merry widow stays (and more, or less)—and those who foolishly (and adorably) love them. The theme sprung from Les Femmes Folles Books’ 2014 Intimates and Fools (poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, art by Sally Deskins). Coupling body art and poetry, ‘Intimates and Fools‘ intimates the complicating pairing of the female form and cultural notions of beauty while playfully seeking to bare and bear such burdens of their weight. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poetry explores notions of the bra and its place near the hearts of women, while contemplating literary and pop cultural allusions and illusions of such intimate apparel. Sally Deskins’ body art and illustrations make vivid and bright the female form while calling into question the cultural narratives on such various shapes we hold dear, be they natural, consumer, or whimsy. Available on amazon.

April 1: Troy Muller (art); mariana mcdonald (poetry)

Les Femmes Folles is a completely volunteer run organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art with the online journal, anthologies, books, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.  LFF Books is a micro-feminist press that publishes 1-2 books per year by the creators of Les Femmes Folles including Intimates & Fools (Laura Madeline Wiseman, 2014). Other titles include Les Femmes Folles: The Women 2011, 2012 and 2013, available on blurb.com,(get 15% your blurb purchase using code 2014BOOKS expires 4/30/14) including art, poetry and interview excerpts from women artists. A portion of the proceeds from LFF books and products benefit the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Wanda Ewing Scholarship Fund.

What Will Her Kids Think? Artist Statement UNCUT

**ALSO for my lovely readers! Hot of Press: LES FEMMES FOLLES, The Women, 2012 at Blurb.com! Check it out!~

http://www.blurb.com/b/4085203-les-femmes-folles-the-women-2012

Hi! I haven’t written a “real” post for awhile; so in anticipation for the upcoming reading (Feb. 24) on motherhood with momaha.com to close my exhibit at Star Deli Gallery, (details here and below), I thought I’d give my cherished readers some insight into the first draft of my artist statement. When you go you will see it got cut by about 3/4! I tend to take awhile to get to my points…but also I will share a couple of art pieces that didn’t make the show…scroll way down (they’re hidden! :) ). See you soon, and thanks for reading!

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me installing…

Sally Deskins: What Will Her Kids Think. Artist Statement UNCUT

“…Maternity is antithetical to the creative life, primarily because of the prevailing attitude that one couldn’t be a woman and an artist, too; how then to be a mother and a painter? The idea that maternity and art don’t go together has cropped up more than once.” JUDY CHICAGO

“Both roles require sacrifice, devotion and submission. So when a woman already exchanges her identity, in the eyes of society, for that of “mother,” it leaves little room for her self-identity as an artist to not only flourish, but stand alone.” LAUREN BARBATO

“Mothers cannot become artists/because they already are.” AMY SANTO

The quotes above are merely a few, and as recent as 2012.  In the 1970s, Chicago’s attitude towards mothers and art making was prevalent among women artists who were mothers—they actively hid the fact, afraid it would harm their careers (“Tales of Motherhood,” Jennie Klein, ArtPulse, 2012).

Moving forward, Chicago herself produced the poignant “Birth Project” (1980-1985), celebrating various aspects of the birth process. Mary Kelly, another significant artist from the feminist movement, explored the mother-child relationship in “Post-Partum Document” (1976) exhibiting her own sense of loss, moving between the voices of mother, child and observer informed by feminism and personal analysis.

There are women currently exploring motherhood; “Breaking in Two: A Provocative Vision of Motherhood” in Santa Monica, 2012; exploring the dual roles and perceptions of artist-mother; “Mother/Mother” at AIR Gallery Brooklyn, 2009.  In 2011, editors Myrel Chernick and Jennie Klein published The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art (Demeter Press) discussing the life choice and tensions for creative women with feminist artists, art historians and theorists.

Still, women doing art about well, being women or mothers, is often perceived as “ghettoized” and continues to be seen as “baby art”—the artist doing work about baby until its out of their system, and then they go back to doing their “normal” work (“Breaking in Two,” Lauren Barbato, Women’s Media Center, 2012). The common representation of the genre, too, is the embracing “mother and child” by a plethora of artists in history.

Of course, motherhood and womanhood is ever a topic of popular culture with regards to birth control, pay, abuse, violence, the “right way” to mother, and body image. But how much of this is by women (mostly men are interviewed by the media; just 3% of clout positions in mainstream media are held by women; women comprise just 7% directors and 13% film writers in top grossing films, Miss Representation, 2011); and how much of this is expressively raw instead of politicized or media-spun?

The 2008 documentary, Who Does She Think She Is? followed five women artists attempted to be artists and be mothers and wives. By the end of the movie, 3/5 divorced; 1 did not continue her craft.

Personally being a mother has infinitely impacted my craft—the continuous tug and pull of both artistry and motherhood is both amazing and frustrating. In recognizing my real luck of being able to stay at home with my healthy children and pursue my creative endeavors, I continue to meet resistance within myself and others, most especially to my genre of choice, that is the nude; hence the title of the show, “What Will Her Kids Think?” a common question I have received over my work and role.

Of course I ask this myself, over and over again: should I choose to be a 100% mother, cherish the kids while they are young, prolong my artist yearnings until they leave the house? After six years of questioning this, unfailingly able to decide, I have come the conclusion—I cannot and will not decide. I will embrace both and consciously; as another artist told me; my children are my first two eggs I care for and protect, art is my third.

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"Art Time #15," crayon, marker on paper, by H., M. & Sally Deskins 2012

What of my choice of genre; nudity? Shall I alter my creative vision while they’re young, to shield them from nudity, as many people have also suggested time and again?  Someone once told me to hang Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” (1486) was inappropriate for a baby’s nursery. Well, perhaps from the angle that it is, once again, a piece in art history idealizing and objectifying the female body. But, in a time when violence and objectification is culture; children are not only unshielded but flooded with images and stories of violence, abuse and objectification of the female body in popular culture in media—it is about time to show them a different perspective of expression and ways of seeing life and the female form.

Life, as we have learned, is fragile; as are my children; let us celebrate the beauty of it, the human form and creativity; not be afraid of what can save us. My body prints are an attempt at abstracting the idea of nudity, and seeing the female form in a new, beautiful, maybe sensual or sexual, but not a cultural-idealized light. My drawings of my pregnant nude form using children’s media of watercolor, crayon and pencil also aim to bring the sheltered hyper-sexualized female form to an appreciated, non-scrutinized angle. By also incorporating my children’s craft (some of the drawings they have painted on before or after my drawing, some of the body prints as well), I connect with them not only with me into the literal process of expression, but hopefully turn the outlook of nudity from distance to affection, as I see it and hope my children do, too.

Some of the body prints I utilized the above quotes and others from mother-artists, from those who have questioned my way of mothering and artistry, and thoughts in my head—by writing those down and printing over them, it is my way of processing and expressing them in a positive fashion, to figure out my own way, amongst the mass of it all, in appreciation of the expressive way of dealing with personal issues—this hurts no one, and can only be a benefit by sharing my story, so that if even one person relates, it can make a difference.

This series builds on my first series of body prints exhibited in 2012 at The New BLK Gallery for Les Femmes Folles: VOICE (co-curated by myself and Megan Loudon Sanders). Inspired by Yves Klein’s “Anthropometries” (1960), my body-prints alternatively work in a feminist fashion; as I work concurrently as the artist/director and model. Too, with regards to the female body image, my prints are obviously that of a woman; as the curls of my pubic hair are evident, to work against the current trend of prepubescent-styled bodies in popular media.

"I count. I draw dots and marks on paper and then count them. I keep every moment with my kids in my heart and then count them.
That is a mother’s life.
And that’s my life. ” YOUNGSOON CHON

“Art should cause violence to be set aside and it is only art that can accomplish this.”

Leo Tolstoy

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Feb. 24, 5pm at Star Deli Gallery, 6114 Military Ave in Benson: Momaha.com partners with Sally Deskins and her journal, Les Femmes Folles to present a reading on motherhood with writers Marilyn Coffey, Sally Deskins, Cat Dixon, Fran Higgins, Megan Hunt, Jessica Mogis, Rebecca Rotert, Michelle Troxclair, Felicia Webster, T. Wade, Laura Madeline Wiseman and more. The reading will complement Sally’s show closing that night at Star Deli Gallery, “What Will Her Kids Think?” and feature Momaha.com writer Danielle Herzog. Get there early for free gift bag from Momaha.com!

 And for some of the work that didn’t make the cut….image

Bum prints on dishes! And undies! I loved this! But did not get a great reception from my peers….ok, so doesn’t really quite follow the rest of the show….and I can see how its kinda yucky….

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An old lace curtain!! Goodmorning sunshine, I love this!! Also did not get a lot of praise from my (very generous and kind) group of cohorts who I consulted at about each point of creation for this show…Ok, I see maybe that’s more of a domestic statement, not necessarily motherhood…

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Tribute to mother earth!! I love this! Again, not a good cohort reception…I guess the media is kinda random compared to the rest…Next time!!

I made much much more! And will continue to explore…thanks to my group of friends for being patient and always honest with feedback…thanks for those fans who scrolled down to check out the rejects! :) See you soon I hope!

~Sally
 

Momaha.com & LFF Reading on Motherhood/Closing of My Exhibit!

February 24, 5pm at Star Deli Gallery, 6114 Military Avenue in Benson, momaha.com partners with Sally Deskins and her organization supporting women in art, Les Femmes Folles, to host a reading on motherhood featuring momaha.com writer Danielle Herzog (pictured below), to complement Deskins’ art exhibit “What Will Her Kids Think?” closing that evening in the Gallery.

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Writers Marilyn Coffey, Sally Deskins, Cat Dixon, Danielle Herzog, Fran Higgins, Megan Hunt, Summer Miller, Jessica Mogis, Rebecca Rotert, Michelle Troxclair, Felicia Webster, Laura Madeline Wiseman and more will read their work on motherhood to complement Sally’s show featuring body prints, drawings and photographs exploring her relationship with motherhood and her art.


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Les Femmes Folles will be previewing LES FEMMES FOLLES: THE WOMEN, 2012 the book, coming out in March 2013. The 2011 edition will be available. It is also available now at http://www.blurb.com/b/2954132-les-femmes-folles-the-women-2011 .

Momaha (mom-aha) is the Omaha World-Herald’s online community for moms. Their goal is to help moms learn, laugh and connect. Read new blogs daily from the Mom Team and chat with others via our forums. momaha.com. facebook.com/momaha

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The event is free, though in-kind donations to support Lydia House for Women, housing women many of which are mothers, are welcome; diapers, baby wipes, baby bath wash and women’s toiletries or lightly used clothing. opendoormission.org.

Complementary refreshments will be available; and Star Deli will be open featuring their delicious soups, sandwiches and coffee.

Facebook.com/bensonstardeli

Facebook.com/femmesfolles

Reading FB event here.

LFF/Sally News & Events

HI There!

A lot of things coming up if you have visited my EVENTS page you may know about….thought I’d share some with those who read the blog whom I love and appreciate :)…

What Will Her Kids Think?~ New Work by Sally Deskins
Star Deli Gallery
Feb. 1-25 Star Deli Gallery, 6114 Military Ave, Benson facebook.com/bensonstardeli Opening Reception: Feb. 1, 7-10pm (with Benson First Friday)

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"Third Egg," acrylic on board, Sally Deskins

Via body-prints and drawings, I explore the relationship of motherhood to her art and body. The opening will feature a film by Fran Higgins with myself, Greg Higgins and Rachel Mindrup, “Mother-Artist-Model.” A limited edition zine with Scott Blake including my art and statement will also be available, with original cover art.

I will also have a piece in Sweatshop Gallerys launch party/fundraiser for CLUB NO QUIET, a feminist record label, Feb. 1, 8-11pm. The event is down the street from Star Deli in Benson. Details here.

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"Multifaceted," by Liz Dittrick, will be exhibited as part of LFF’s Open Art Show Feb. 1 at House of Loom (Dittrick will also be painting LIVE during the event!)

LFF Art & More for Women’s Center for Advancement of Omaha
After Benson First Friday, Les Femmes Folles hosts an Open Art Show at House of Loom with their Art Party for Women’s Center for Advancement featuring live performances and more (9pm-2am, Feb 1); the event door fee $5 benefits WCA’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services. Details here. If you are a woman-identified artist interested in having your work in the show email sallydeskins@yahoo.com or see the call for art here. (Stay tuned for a feature with DJ Shor-T who will be spinning that night!)

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Drawings by Cale Oglesby for Drink n Draw

Special Events with Star Deli Exhibit

Star Deli Gallery, 6114 Military Ave
DRINK N DRAW, Feb. 20, 7-9pm, $5
Artists 21+ are invited to come create together inspired by professional live models (the models at this event will be mothers to complement Sally’s exhibit on motherhood and art). Bring your own supplies including your drinks and enjoy the social creative atmosphere!  Details here.

MOTHERHOOD & ART POETRY READING, Feb. 24, 5pm (Free)
Star Deli Gallery, 6114 Military Ave
Area writers will express their thoughts on motherhood and art via poetry and spoken word including Sally Deskins, Cat Dixon, Fran Higgins, Laura Madeline Wiseman and more.

**NOT LFF AFFILIATED BUT SUPER EXCITING: V-DAY OMAHA**
Feb. 14, 2-6pm, First United Methodist Church, join forces to stand up against violence against women. Information, entertainment, and more—details here.

Sally is participating in Omaha Public Library’s Author Fair Feb. 16, 1-4pm at Dale Clark location downtown. Meet local authors and publishers and enjoy a panel 2-3pm. Details here.

Coming Up:

Sally’s participating in a group exhibit of artists who are women focusing on the figure, curated by Susan Woodford, Femmes Qui Bercent, March 1-25 at Noyes Art Gallery in Lincoln. Stay tuned for details.

Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2012 book including images, excerpts and poetry from women interviewed in 2012 is in the works to be published in March 2013. Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2011 is available at blurb.com and may be previewed here.

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In celebration of National Women’s History Month, LFF will host a number of events including:

LFF reading with Femmes Qui Bercent
March 1, 6pm, Noyes Art Gallery 119 S. 9th St., Lincoln
With writers Denise Brady, Cat Dixon, Marilyn Coffey, Sally Deskins, Connie Spittler, Stacey Waite, Stacey Waite, Laura Madeline Wiseman and more.

"Women in Art," panel moderated by Sally Deskins March 9, 4pm Washington Branch Library, 2968 Ames St.
With playwright Beaufield Berry, dancer/rapper Jasmine Reed, spoken word artist Felicia Webster, fashion designer Olajide Kotero and more.

"LFF Book Launch, Anniversary & Social Hour" March 26, 6-8pm House of Loom
Hear Sally and various writers’ read & celebrate 2 years of Les Femmes Folles; this event is celebratory and still in the works; if you are interested in sharing your story/work/performing, email sallydeskins@yahoo.com.
Meet and greet with other artists who are women.

If you have any ideas, questions or anything regarding LFF, Sally’s work, feminism or women in art, email sallydeskins@yahoo.com