Shirley Veenema

Originally a printmaker, my current work is in mixed media and artists’ books. In both I’m interested in creating narratives. For example, in the mixed drawings Channeling Marilyn Monroe flowers and clothes create disembodied portraits of the long dead icon Marilyn Monroe. Flowers in the Vanitas series, layered to appear at the same time both dead and alive, suggest a very different narrative. In three artists’ books, I use a pair of gloves to tell in different ways a hypothetical sequences of ownership connecting eight women recognized for the quality of their work in the arts: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Isadora Duncan, Lillian Hellman, Georgia O’Keeffe, Greta Garbo, and Billie Holiday. 

I’m particularly excited about my newest series, Once Upon A Time, inspired by Angela Carter’s retelling of classic fairy tales from a feminist perspective. Working with painting cradles, some reversed to create boxes, is opening up a new direction in my work in which paper is both a drawing and sculptural material.


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