Join the Vaaler gallery to view Thirteen: Nonconformity, a portrait series by Minnesota artist and painting instructor Alice Blessing. While not directly linked to France and the Francophonie, the message conveyed through the art traverses all borders, languages, and cultures.
This project has evolved through many developments, and the artist went on an extensive emotional journey through the concept and completion of the paintings. Originally she wanted to display the strength she sees in young girls, believing that the system of patriarchy and white supremacy in which we live robs girls’ power as they become teenagers. Stemming from her own experience at that age, developing eating disorders and depression, she began this series just as her child was entering their tween years. While trying to tell her own story, Alice found that it would be irresponsible to do it without an intersectional lens. It’s vital that as a portrait painter, she ensures representation of women who may not see themselves in mainstream media: women of color, women with disabilities, fat women, lesbian women, queer women, trans women, women of low socio-economic circumstance, elder women, and other marginalized people. Representation matters. After Alice began her child’s portrait, they told Alice that their gender is non-binary, rather than female. She had to examine her own antiquated ideas of gender. Through learning more about contemporary gender construct, she saw that her child won’t have the same struggles as she did, although there are similarities. Her experience with gender has been remarkably different than her child’s experience. Even though it isn’t only about girls anymore, this series is about power. It’s about standing up for oneself, no matter how an “other” feels. At its heart, it’s an ode to nonconformity. To a lesser degree it’s about adolescent development, generational divides, and systematic oppression.
No spam. Just local art news and events straight to your inbox.