Hannah Wilke

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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I have decided to give my oral report on Hannah Wilke. Before I begin my slide presentation I will just give a short biographical sketch to introduce the artist. Wilke was born in New York March 7, 1940, and given the name Arlene Hannah Butter. A well known feminist American sculptor and performance artist, Wilke studied sculpture at Tyler School of Fine Arts at Temple University. At a young age Wilke taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and it wasn't long before she had received numerous grants for her work (which she was from then on able to focus). She later died of lymphoma in January 1993, at the age of 52.

No woman before her was bold enough to put forth the concepts Wilke conveys through the grouping of her work and the transitions it goes through. Although we do not have slides of all of Wilke's work, I hope to be able to show slides which convey her main points.

In the 1960s Wilke developed a sculpture style inspired by the female body and the exploration of space. Soon this so called "fortune cookie" shaped sculpture (which examples of will be shown later) became an icon for Wilke, and later was used in conjunction with her own body. We see Wilke's art take a turn when her mother becomes ill and she herself is feeling a bit lost. Wilke uses her Mother's breast cancer and eventually death as subject matter: With this Wilke conveys strong senses of womanhood, motherhood, constancy, and death, which she is then able to carry over into her last works involving her own illness and death.

With these slides and presentation I will show that it is not only her subject matter, but the vast range of materials...