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Home | Exhibitions | Online | The Sacred Feminine | Contemporary Interpretations

exhibition bannerContemporary Interpretations

Introduction

The postmodern movement brought new approaches to art and the representation of women and religion. Characteristics of this movement are an inversion of traditional approaches to representation and a departure from strict interpretations. The feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s particularly fueled the exploration of the feminine outside traditional roles. Moreover, artists have either attempted to redefine the sacred feminine by manipulating concepts that have typically governed female identity or re-created it entirely.

Postmodern artists often draw on traditional themes and subject matter in their representation of the sacred feminine, but subject matter is frequently re-interpreted and re-contextualized to yield works with a provocative blend of artistic traditions. Traditionalists may question such changes, especially when the artist transforms long-honored standards, such as depictions of the Virgin Mary. On the other hand, this is often the very intention of the post-modern artist: to rework the strict rules that have governed artistic tradition in the past. For example, this has been a driving force in the work of feminist artist, Nancy Spero.

It is not only female artists but also male artists who play an important role in the post-modern representation of women. Male artists’ examination of the female has drastically changed since the feminist movement, and they too have moved beyond strict interpretation of the sacred feminine. Sculptor Larry Young, for example, inspired by themes in classical art, often presents the classically-derived female form in unconventional ways.

(Use the links on the right to see this online exhibition.)

The Sacred Feminine Links:

The Sacred Mother
- Introduction
- Objects

The Dangerous Feminine
- Introduction
- Objects (opens new window)

Beyond Human: Female Sainthood
- Introduction
- Objects (opens new window)

Models of Knowledge and Power
- Introduction
- Objects (opens new window)

Devotees and Consorts
- Introduction
- Objects (opens new window)

The Divine Queen
- Introduction
- Objects (opens new window)

The Cult of the Virgin
- Introduction
- Objects (opens new window)

Contemporary Interpretations
- Introduction
- Objects (opens new window)

exhibition illustration

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