Description: This thesis is an investigation of the way in which the painter May Stevens (b. 1924) synthesizes her personal experiences and political philosophy to form complex and enduring works of art. Primary data was accumulated through an extended interview with May Stevens and by examining her works on exhibit in New York and Boston. An analysis of selected works from her "Big Daddy" and "Ordinary/Extraordinary" series revealed how her personal feelings about her own family became entwined with larger political issues. As an important member of the feminist art movement that evolved during the 1970s, she celebrated this new kinship among women in paintings that also explored the contradictions in their lives. In more recent work she has explored complex social issues such as teenage prostitution, sexism, and child abuse in a variety of artistic styles and media. This study investigates how May Stevens continues to portray issues of international significance in works that consistently engage the viewer on a personal, almost visceral level.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Abbott, Janet Gail