This collage series re-presents the history of the universe as related to the life-stages of women. The history of Western cultural attitudes toward women has been one of value for youth, beauty and reproductive potential; this is evident in the fact that of the (formerly) nine planets, only two are personified in mythology as female: Venus—named for the goddess of love and beauty, and Gaia, goddess of everything growing on Earth. Seven planets are named for male Greco/-Roman gods or messengers of the gods.
Once “past prime” women have been virtually invisible, following a cultural attitude promoted throughout centuries of writing about women by men: odes to beauty, the budding rose, the full-blown rose, the faded rose. Yet the power, beauty and strength of women surrounds us as they balance work, career, family, primary relationships and aging parents. As more women have second careers and accomplishments in all fields at a later age, this societal prejudice needs to shift. Life doesn’t end at menopause.
Whenever I feel myself inferior to everything about me, threatened by my own mediocrity, frightened by the discovery that a muscle is losing its strength, a desire its power, or a pin the keen edge of its bite, I can still hold up my head and say to myself: ..."Let me not forget that I am the daughter of a woman who bent her head, trembling, over a cactus, her wrinkled face full of ecstasy over the promise of a flower, a woman who herself never ceased to flower, untiringly, during three quarters of a century." – Break of Day, 1928, Colette (1873-1954).
In a Feminist reinterpretation, each of these works combines an image of a famously creative woman with a particular colour and type of rose--from bud to “old roses”: writer Alice Walker, dancer Isadora Duncan, painter Rosa Bonheur, punk musician and poet Patti Smith, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and environmentalist and journalist Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, champion of the Florida Everglades. Each image is empowered with a magnificent chandelier suggestive of planetary power and light.
This series, produced during an artist residency at Dorland Mountain Artist Colony, Temecula, California in 1998, was scanned, enlarged and printed digitally. They were initially made as studies for an installation work unrealized to date.