The feminine in abstract painting

"When I initially raised the notion of the feminine in abstract painting 25 years ago, it was not to construct a new universal, thus replicating monologism, or an equivalent set of signs to balance the lexicon of the masculine. Rather, it was meant to constitute a method of intervention, a way to insert into the discourse of identity and gender that had become significantly literary rather than aesthetic. I had tried to point out certain exclusionary practices inherent in abstract painting, synonymous with Modernism, and how in this pluralistic and confusing time our culture gave way to certain “other” approaches to abstract painting that now seem prevalent despite the long history in which these approaches were already present in some form or another. I termed this the “feminine.” That women seemed to be making the most interesting painting at that time (and continued to in the ensuing years) needed illumination as well as interrogation and further examination. Indeed, as I thought more about the nature and language used to uphold certain dominant beliefs in the practice of abstract painting, it became more apparent to me why women in general were always excluded from this discourse. Since the world is predominantly based on a patriarchal society, the values that are attached to anything are usually masculine. As I argued in this earlier essay, those “masculine” beliefs themselves were put into question particularly as abstract painting became stagnant and “dead”—as it became synonymous with the same ideals as those inherent in the exclusionary practices of Modernism."