Most women depicted in art throughout history are young and beautiful. Have you ever wondered what happens when these young women age? Why we don’t see grandmothers (or older women) in art?
The young and beautiful have always been an inspiration for artists but, as soon as they start to get wrinkles, they disappear from art. I understand how essencial beauty and youth are for fashion or sports in our current culture, but is it also essencial in art? Art is supposed to challenge the status quo, not follow it—then why not show the beauty of women at all stages of life? After all, grandmas offer endless beauty elements to celebrate: texture, color, shape, history, wisdom, honesty and so on.
I don’t have the answer, but one thing is for sure: the grandmother isn’t part of art.
In questioning myself about the grandmother and her presence in art, I realized that very, very few contemporary artists have addressed this issue. Today, I want to share the work of two artists who have been inspired by older women.
Artist Angie Heisl places the grandmother at the center of her work, creating happenings all over the world. In her performances, she sits the old ladies on a chair at the height of a second floor building. While they are sitting up there they are able to knit, read or just watch people pass by. In a way, they can do whatever they would normally do but up in the air. I tought it was a nice way to give them back their inspirational status.
For Sacha Goldberg, the grandmother is still a wonderful inspiration. The artist takes pictures of his grandmother dressed up like a super hero in order to bring us back to childhood, a time in which the grandmother is surely the best inspiration we could have!