Carrie Patterson, Chair
Associate Professor of Art
Office Staff: 240-895-4225
Alumni Where are they now?
Matthew Fishel (studio art, 2001) completed an MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art in 2010. Originally interested in painting, Matthew has expanded his practice to include animation, video, installation, and digital imaging. He is a frequent contributor to RedStarKGB, an ongoing collaboration of filmmakers in Baltimore. His own film, "A Short Film Regarding Possibilities", was selected by the Maryland Film Festival in 2006. See his work at http://www.matthewfishel.com
Reinforcing Ideals: Women Artists and the Solidification of Gendered Responsibility in New Deal Art
Abstract: This project examines the art of women of the federal art programs that came about under Roosevelt's New Deal during the great Depression of the 1930s. The art programs, including the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration and the commissions of the Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture, were instituted mainly for the purpose of bringing art to the American people on an inclusive, widely relevant level, and also for providing relief to artists who were suffering the effects of the Depression. About 41% of artists on the W.P.A. were women, and about 19% of artists employed by the Section were women. Also, many women were employed outside the home, often on other federal work relief projects.
Despite these seemingly high numbers of employed women, the 1930s was generally a time of setbacks for feminism and for the idealization of traditional gender roles, perceived as a source of stability during difficult times. Women who worked for wages often faced great hostility and even lost their jobs, as they were seen as taking jobs that should be held by men and neglecting their duties in the home. There was a general attitude that men should be the breadwinners and women their companionable helpers and caregivers, and this attitude was translated into the "American Scene" subject matter of New Deal art as models for women's and men's proper places. This project demonstrates how the public attitudes concerning women's work both inside and outside the home as well as the defensive stance of feminism during the Depression decade led to constructions of femininity and masculinity in women's art of the New Deal art programs that did not criticize or subvert traditional notions of men's and women's proper places.