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In my last post “Artist as Subject” I closed with the joking statement “Stay tuned… no menstrual blood, I promise”. However, on second thought I’ve decided to share my painting series Hysterikos from 1998, which is in fact about Menstrual Blood. Series Description: The Hysterikos series are large scale, abstract paintings expressing the inner turmoil of the Uterus. The title Hysterikos is a Greek word meaning of the womb or suffering in the womb. This series expresses the pain and strength of women suffering from Endometriosis. Acrylic on Masonite. Hand painted by Amy E. Fraser (1998). Featuring a unique painting process developed by the artist, involving layers upon layers of transparent acrylic glazes. The series title comes from the Classical Greek hysterikos, suffering in the womb, hysterical from hystera, uterus: from the notion that women are hysterical more often than men. What is Endometriosis? “Endometriosis is when the tissue that makes up the uterine lining (the lining of the womb) is present on other organs inside your body. Endometriosis is usually found in the lower abdomen, or pelvis, but can appear anywhere in the body. Women with endometriosis often have lower abdominal pain, pain with periods, or pain with sexual intercourse, and may report having a hard time getting pregnant”. (Read more about Endometriosis). Here are some paintings from the Hysterikos series:
Photos and active links are unavailable in this format. Please go to the official Amy E. Fraser Art blog to see more: https://aefraserart.blogspot.com/2019/11/hysterikos.html
The Hysterikos series is a prime example of painting “what you know”. Some of the most powerful art created derived from sharing an event or aspect that defined the artist’s existence. My intention with this series in 1998 was to create an image that became an experience, an open discussion with the viewer. The paintings were big, bold and confrontational. The series, while technically excellent, if I must say so myself, was in content, raw and personal. Not to mention, even in our enlightened age it was still a taboo topic. But in the spirit of the Feminist artists before me, I went for it. I later dedicated an entire chapter to Menstrual Blood in my book “Dissecting The Western Woman Artist; An Artist's Dialogue” so no need to pretend that I was all that shy about it.
What was the point of sharing Hysterikos and how does it relate to “Artist as Subject”? Today, in this era of over information, also known as TMI, patrons demand to know more of their Artists personal lives before they are willing to invest. But what information should you share? Are you going to be able to maintain the brand you began to develop in college in the next stages of your life? Maybe, maybe not. In my case, not so much. My confident disregard for social normality cost me a couple of art related jobs when I needed them most. I’m sharing this just in case you don’t want to figure these things out on your own. I’m offering the wisdom of my past experiences (I won’t say mistakes), in hopes that you will consider your actions and the long term perception of your work before you go all in. Always be true to yourself, honesty is everything! But keep in mind that while the practice of TMI is cathartic, it can have serious and some times negative long term consequences. However I survived, so shall you, No Regrets!
The Hysterikos series is currently available as POD at AEFraser.com