PICTURING FEMINIST ART HISTORY TO OVERCOME GENDER BIAS IN ART EDUCATION. A RESEARCH METHODOLOGY FOR PICTURING AND WRITING THE LIFE OF ANNE DANGAR, AN AUSTRALIAN ARTIST WORKING IN FRANCE
La Trobe University (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In Art Education, teaching resources based on art history are still far from being free from gender bias. Since the 1980s, in order to redress this lack of balance, feminist art historians have been writing women into the history of Western art. This paper explores an appropriate research methodology for use in picturing and writing the life history of Australian artist Anne Dangar who worked in France until her death in the 1950s.
In the past two important monographs have explored Dangar’s artistic life in France. One, an edited collection of letters from Dangar to her friend Grace Crowley in Australia, gives an intimate account of the hardships and poverty she experienced in France while maintaining her commitment to the teachings of her master, Albert Gleizes. Second, an in-depth biography addressing Dangar’s life, work and creative inspiration and influences is a comprehensive study of this exceptional artist. My research aims to focus on her work within the rural potteries of the region and the techniques and approaches she learnt first hand working with artisan potters.
In order to paint a rich picture of her life in the rural potteries along the Rhone, at the artists' commune of Moly-Sabata, and her influence on Modernism in France and Australia, two supporting methodologies are required. First Visual Anthropology and the use of digital photography will be discussed to provide data documenting the still existent rural potteries, the house at Moly-Sabata and the surrounding rural community. Professional anthropologists have used film and visual data since the nineteenth century. Digital photography overcomes much of the technical difficulty associated with many past experiences. The visual essay produced from a series of still photographs forms a parallel narrative to that provided by the interview data.
Second, a biographical method is explored. It is proposed that interviews with community members, local potters and others who knew Dangar or know of her work will be collated into a meaningful narrative about her life. The aim will be to display the visual and textual data in a way to maximise their expressive or communicative potential. Data from each method will be used to confirm the other, or may be used to question interpretations.
Finally this paper will address some of the limitation of these approaches in the light of the sixty year period between her death and the present. Possible ethical concerns will also be canvassed.
Keywords: Anne Dangar, French rural potteries, Modernism, gender bias in art history.