Michelle Stuart

1933 | Los Angeles, United States
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Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

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American visual artist.

Michelle Stuart studied in Mexico, France and at the new School for Social Research in New York. Since the 1960s, she has been developing a body of work with many different forms, including very large pieces, multimedia installations, drawings, paintings, and sculptures. Her work draws on several areas of study and influence, such as biology, history, botany and even archaeology. She has made pioneering use of organic media—earth, seeds, wax—, with an interest both in the physical properties of the materials and in what they convey in terms of scientific and cultural questioning, like, for example, the series involving processes of change in matter, and those based on genetic variations, which usher in other questions to do with art. She has shown her work in many venues and institutions, and her pieces are to be found in several collections.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Stuart experimented with many different processes and media; she accordingly worked by crushing, pulverizing, printing and engraving earth and stone on parchment-like sheets of paper. She created large monochrome drawings which are partly connected both with the activities of Land Art and Minimalism, and with influences with which she associates non-traditional materials. At the same time she became a major figure in the Women’s Movement, taking part in several feminist publications: Heresies, Women’s Art Registry. In the 1980s she created painted compositions on gridded backgrounds, which introduced wax, shells, sand and flowers on a surface covered with encaustic (Paradisi, 1986). These large format pieces are like responses to a contemplation of nature, in which Stuart summons artists and romantic poets. She also makes multimedia installations.

Marion Daniel

Translated from French by Simon Pleasance.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Passages: Mesa Verde, 1977-79, kodacolor c-print photographs, scroll of muslin paper, had-made paper, earth from site, photographs: 35.5 x 43 cm, 14 x 17 in., rouleau: 275 x 150 cm, 108 x 59 in., stacks: 28 x 30.5 x 7.5 cm, 11 x 12 x 3 in., © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Sayreville Strata Quartet, 1976, earth on muslin-backed rag paper, 365.8 x 157.5 cm, 144 x 62 in. each of four, © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, #28 Moray Hill, 1974, earth, graphite, rocks from site, muslin mtd. paper, 365.76 x 157.48 cm, 144 x 62 in., Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Frijoles Notebook, 1975, © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Niagara Gorge Path Relocated, 1975, rocks, earth (red iron oxide) from site, Lewiston NY, scroll of muslin paper cascading down a large bank of the Niagara River Gorge, 140.2 x 1.6 m, 460 x 5.2 ft., © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Stone Alignments/Solstice Cairns, 1978-79, 3200 boulders, varying sizes, overall: 305 m, 1000 x 800 ft., cairns: 1.5 m, 5 ft. high (approximately), © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Ashes in Arcadia, 1988, installation, Rose Art Museum Waltham MA, © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Ashes in Arcadia, 1988, installation, Rose Art Museum Waltham MA, © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Starchart Constellations, 1992, fiberglass, miniature lighting systems, 30 colunms: 259 x 30.5 cm, 102 x 12 in., overall: 12.2 x 36 m, 40 x 118 ft., © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Seed Container #1, 1993, various seeds, beeswax, and pine, 96.5 x 66 x 66 cm, 38.5 x 26 x 26 in., © Michelle Stuart

Michelle Stuart — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Michelle Stuart, Ring of Fire, 2010, altered archival inkjet photographs, metal table, Tonga tapa cloth, seeds, woven leather basket, vintage wood container, stones, wall: 1.47 x 3.02 m, 58 x 119 in., table: 71.75 x 101.6 x 17.75 cm, 28 1/4 x 40 x 18 1/4 in., © Michelle Stuart

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