Rosa, Alice: Ordinary Extraordinary

Melissa Debakis, Editor, Janis Bell, Editor, May Stevens, Author Universe Publishing(NY) $12.95 (64p) ISBN 978-0-87663-750-0
By parts exhibition catalogue, biography and feminist treatise, this unusual monograph explores the innovative paintings of contemporary American artist May Stevens, portraying the socialist Rosa Luxemburg as a symbol and martyr of struggles against oppression. With her images, Stevens draws comparisons between Luxemburg's remarkable life and her own mother Alice Stevens's mundane existence. Dubakis, codirector with Bell of the companion exhibit at Kenyon College, Ohio, sheds light on Stevens's aims and accomplishments in her dark, enigmatic paintings, which, even in their reproductions here, possess powerful impact. Bell's in-depth interview with the artist and poet Reese Williams's ``meditation'' on his friend Stevens's oeuvre are enjoyable and also further the investigation the book makes into women's place in today's art world. One feels no more thorough or exciting analysis of May Stevens could be achieved than this astute synthesis of criticism and appreciation. Within its weave of literate text and illustrations, life and history, artistic craft and vision, the study successfully asserts the feminist credo that the personal is political. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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