OVERLOOK Kaitlyn Tucek
August 31st – October 12th, 2019
On page 531 of the 2001 edition of Janson’s Western Art History textbook you can find the following quote: “So far, we have not discussed a named woman artist, although this does not mean that there were none.”
While doing research for an altarpiece I completed last summer, I rekindled my love and interest in Late Renaissance and Baroque art. This meant opening up my old college textbooks and personal library of art historical content. With over fifteen art history courses between my undergrad at Pratt Institute and graduate program at CUNY Queens College, I can’t recall a single professor mentioning Artemisia Gentileschi. Why? My senior thesis was a series of large illustrative portraits of heroic women in my community. Why did no one think to recommend a female perspective to compliment my own obviously female perspective?
In the last few years, I have started to revisit my own experience and the willful ignorance that both my professors and I had about female contributions throughout art history. The mainstream historical narrative had allowed only certain men to define what art was, and its undervaluation of the female experience still greatly permeates our art education and contemporary markets. I became particularly interested in Artemisia’s disappearance. Researching someone so forgotten by history creates a daunting challenge to put the pieces back together. The mystery leaves the door open for multiple and sometimes contradictory narratives and has enormous potential for troublesome exploitation. Groups lay claim, offering speculative truths. Fragments and perceptions lead to questions that may never be answered. Through more research I discovered countless other notable female artists who I had never heard of. I found myself following three distinct paths of artistic curiosity, one leading to my own perception of Gentileschi’s work and intention, one leading me to discover the many other women I had never been educated about, and one leading to the self as an artist.
In the end, I had unknowingly unveiled my own fears of being forgotten like so many other female artists before me. This show became a personal conflict, with an existential ebb and flow. There were many female artists that could have been, or rather should have been mentioned before page 531–it’s just that no one was advocating for them. I hope my exhibition provides another way to record their names, and document their contributions to art history, and maybe through this undertaking, mine own name as well.
Kaitlyn Tucek lives and works in Denver, CO. From Long Island, NY, Tucek graduated from Pratt Institute in 2006 and was awarded her Master’s from CUNY Queens College in 2013. Mother to two under 5, Tucek is a multi-disciplinary artist who is often labeled a feminist. Tucek has been featured in Hyperallergic, Westword, Modern in Denver, and was recently named one of Denver’s top 5 artists to watch and collect by 5280 Magazine. In addition to her art, Tucek occasionally moonlights in art and museum education, illustration and curatorial work.
Self Portrait with Theorbo
is a video performance of a new music composition for large Renaissance-era lute. Infused into the piece are quotations from Barbara Strozzi, one of Artemesia Genrileschi’s composer friends. Strozzi, like Artemesia and so man women, queer composers, and composers of color, had been largely left out of classical music history. This work offers a moment to show that hew work (and others too often-forgotten) still inspires.
Nathan Hall is a former Fulbright Fellow to Iceland, and holds his Doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA) from the CU Boulder. He holds a BA from Vassar College and MM from Carnegie Mellon. His teachers include Nancy Galbraith, Richard Wilson, Reza Vali, Carter Pann, and John Drumheller. His works have been performed and exhibited around the world by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Tenth Intervention, GALA Choruses, Playground Ensemble, Decho Ensemble, The Gay/Lesbian Chorus of San Francisco, New Wave Singers, International Orange Chorale San Francisco, Ars Nova Singers, Duo Harpverk, a convention of roller coaster enthusiasts, artist Ragnar Kjartansson, and porn star Dirk Caber. Nathan has been awarded numerous grants including a New Music USA grant and the Denver Music Advancement Fund. His residencies include Denver Art Museum’s first Creative in Residence, Acadia National Park, Boulder Public Library Maker in Residence, and the Ogilvy Travel Fellowship to Ireland. He is President-Elect of the Board of Playground Ensemble and lives in Denver.
Theorbo: Nicolò Spera
Video: John Roberts, Dustmite Films
A special thank you to those who helped the artists realize their designs
Matt Tripodi Sophie Lynn Morris Bonnie Gregory Christine Kane Kate Wilkonson Nicolò Spero
Photography by Amanda Tipton