In today’s media, where women are captured having mostly standard sizes, shapes and if possible, the same type and hair color, Marie’s sculptures are a breath of fresh air! they are candid, joyful, honest and above all, liberating.
I got introduced to her work in Venice, Italy, in 2007. I was visiting an obscure art gallery – to me at least, at the time – and was struck by the beauty and charm of her sculptures on display. I saved her name, got back home and searched for her.
Women’s bodies are works of miracle and wonder! they foster and nourish life, they bear the burden of life giving, they unite families and friends, they can capture everyone’s attention with their mysterious ways, unique approaches to life, love and work (and looks!), and above all, women make half of the humanity! Now that is a powerful fact!
Sadly, in many countries of the world, women are still objectified and reduced solely to their ability of giving birth and pleasure and are being viewed as second rate citizens. And some attitudes in Westernized countries are no better! How many times have you heard “jokes” about blondes, or about the way women drive, or feel and act? Told in a sarcastic and diminishing way? How about the statistics of rape and domestic violence, that are still rising? And I could go and on…
I am glad we can vote. I am even happier that we can travel, choose whom and if to marry or mate with, attend college and plan when we have a baby, or not. I am happy for all these “freedoms” that we acquired. But what have we really gained? Do we look differently at women now than we did 50, 100, 500 years ago? Do we understand them in their complexity? Are women truly respected for their innate differences, attitudes, attributes and characteristics? In all their diversity, mystique and prowess, without judging them them too harshly or sarcastically?
Why are we so eager to prove then that men and females are not so different after all, or that the first are better than the latter, in some way or another?… And why are we still so surprised at the differences between males and females? They are natural! We are born with them so that together with the opposite sex, we can create successful partnerships: at work, in friendships, in love and when raising our children! it’s like cutting an apple in half and making it whole again by putting the two pieces together.
I think that sometimes we do not realize how we truly feel about women. But the more or less unconscious attitudes we hold about women surface in the generalizations we make about them, in the little sarcastic jokes that we tell amongst friends, in the type of porn we choose to watch, and ultimately, in whom we choose to date. Just observe your daily thoughts, comments and beliefs about them! You might be surprised…
I am glad I am a woman and I am happy for all the gifts that come with it! Just as I admire the men around me: the way they look at things, how they choose to solve problems, their strength, their courage and sense of adventure…I am also grateful that everywhere I look – roads, bridges, houses, buildings – they were mainly built by men and through their ingenuity! So much to learn and grow from one another, isn’t it?
One of my wishes is to see more women and men working together harmoniously, accepting one another with respect and open-mindedness, using their differences to complement each other and learn. The Feminist waves helped us greatly but in the same way, I think it left us all a bit confused…
Maybe, with this new era, we can finally explore our depths, decide who we really are as males and females, what roles suit us, and how to nourish our differences in a way that together, we can bring a more loving, honest and kind humanity.
Marie Madeleine Gautier’s works are genuine glimpses into the female universe: light, serene, thoughtful, full of love…here are some of my faves: