The Lady Minimalists Tea Society,* a group of six New Mexico women artists working separately in their studios, mostly rural, have been meeting together monthly for eight years to discuss art making and the art world. We review each others’ work, give feedback, and collaborate on projects and exhibitions while each pursuing an individual art career. Over time, we have created an environment of support we can depend on.
We are together in that our individual processes rely on systems of incremental building and layering, some painstakingly slow, others quick and deliberate. Our approaches are improvisational and intuitive in varying degrees. Danielle Shelley stitches intimate abstract visual spaces; Shaun Gilmore crafts calligraphic/organic paper mache sculpture and collage drawings; Dara Mark creates fields of fluid watercolor shapes; Signe Stuart structures paper into drawing/sculpture hybrids; Janice Wall layers mixed-media monoprints; Jill Christian paints fields of colors and shapes born of repeated gestures. All our work is abstract and open to multiple interpretations.
We are together in our common aesthetic concerns and minimalist influences, our investigations of materials and concepts and our commitment to our work. As we each develop along our singular path, we carry our practices into our own idiosyncratic territories.
* A wry comment from one of our sons gave the Lady Minimalists our name. He noticed that his mother was feeling isolated in her studio practice and suggested she hold a tea party for “your lady minimalist friends.” So she did. Intended as a joke for its prim and prissy connotations, the name belies our self-concept as creative, independent-minded explorers.
Image: Dara Mark, Lily/Heart/Memory, watercolor and thread on translucent Yupo paper, 41 x 54 in.