Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Struggle, Struggle: Eva Hess

Simple drawing is almost like meditation for me. Unfortunately, it did not accomplish what I had hoped which was inspiration for a quilt on Eva Hesse (1936-1970). This is for an exhibition with my group, CLAW (Crossing the Line: Artists at Work), and as the "fearless leader" I can't not create something at least interesting. There is no one to blame either.

I discovered Eva while in college. I was creating a lot of art that dealt with motherhood and abortion (not legal at the time). I had a couple of friends die from illegal abortions so it weighed heavily on my mind. It was such a struggle because I so strongly wanted to be a mom.  Anyway, my professors (all male) hated my work- "too female," "no one will take you seriously," etc. Eva was my savior.

While Eva used unconventional materials, she also incorporated weaving, wrapping, sewing and knitting, all those things considered "women's work," into her pieces. There is a sense of playfulness and wit in her pieces. She called it "weird humor" which relates to her view that life is absurd.

I did find a quote that I think I would like to use if it works: "I want to be surprised, to find something new. I don't want to know the answer before but want an answer that can surprise."

She also did not come into her own until she was separated from her husband and met a group of artists who rallied around her. For the first time she felt accepted as an artist.  Isn't that something we all can relate? It is then that she began to produce an incredible body of work. Unfortunately she died from a brain tumor at 38.

So I clean. I draw. I read about her life.  I play with clay. I take long walks. All the while, struggling to find the place to begin. What do you do when you are struggling to find a way to express something important to you?


  1. Images and thoughts marinate a long while and I'm hyper alert around those thoughts and images until slow I begin to write and then make marks while thinking over the thoughts and images.


Love comments! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.