jeannieoconnor.com

My studio is located in West Oakland, so I drive though the neighborhood daily. The multilayered surfaces of the buildings, alternating between paint and graffitti, are a fit for the process I work with in this series. A clear  sheet of film is printed with with a photographic image , and attached to a sheet of BFK Rives printmaking paper. I paint the reverse side of the film with acrylics, and add chalk pastel, pencil and collage to the paper layer below. The combination of the two layers creates the final image.

This layered process is one I developed out of a desire to include painting and drawing with the  photographic image. I didn't want to give up the materiality of  paint and pastel, but to use them to enhance the 3-dimensional quality of the clear film. 

I went to UC Berkleley for graduate school. There was a strong influence of Bay Area abstraction, and the art department had the budget for visitors like Kitaj, Hockney and de Suvero. No women artists were invited.

I managed to go through undergraduate and graduate school without ever having a female teacher except for Penny d'Hamers, who taught photography in the Design Department. It was a boys club in the art department. The only woman who had been on the faculty , Margaret Peterson, had been fired years earlier for refusing to sign the Loyalty Oath imposed on the UC faculty during the McCarthy era of the 1950's. When asked why there were no women on the faculty, one teacher replied: "We had one once, but it didn't work out."

In 1971 I joined a group of Bay Area women and drove to Fresno to see Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro teaching . We heard Judy Chicago claim she could not teach the women students art until they liberated themselves from the burdens imposed by the low expectations for women that held sway in those " Madmen " 1950's-60's.  She encouraged all the visiting artists, who were from northern and southern California, to go home and start consciousness raising groups. All of us exploded with energy for this venture. Consciousness-raising groups started everywhere. The time for the Women's Movement had arrived. You could visit other cities and always find a consciousness-raising group to visit. Ms Magazine was founded. I was published in 1971 with a portrait of Imogen Cunningham, who was a feminist before it was fashionable. 

Yellow Roller, Emeryville
Archival pigment print on watercolor paper
30" x 45"
Jeannie O'Connor © 2014


MacArthur Mayhem
Painted film over chalk pastel
32" x 44 "
Jeannie O'Connor © 2016


Inversion
Painted film over chalk pastel
42" x 40"
Jeannie O'Connor © 2016


Spello Construction
Painted film, chalk pastel, painted wood, metal, glass
96" x 56" x 6 inches
Jeannie O'Connor


Dodo Bird
Archival pigment print on watercolor paper
20" x 30"
Jeannie O'Connor © 2011