Dr. Elizabeth Ferrell, assistant professor of Art History, presented “The Ring Around the Rose” at Jay DeFeo and Beyond: Abstraction, Gender and its Effects in Paris, France on June 14. Her presentation included an overview of her current book project, The Ring around The Rose: Jay DeFeo and Her Circle, and the artistic collaborations that developed around DeFeo’s monumental painting, “The Rose,” which she painted from 1958 to 1966 in San Francisco.
The workshop—hosted by the Terra Foundation of American Art and organized by lecturer Catherine Spencer of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland—welcomed scholars from the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Presentations focused on women artists who developed abstract visual vocabularies in mid-century America.
“It was very useful to hear from other scholars who are researching Jay DeFeo and other women artists who worked in the decades following World War II,” said Dr. Ferrell. “Their papers were very inspiring, as was the art I saw while in Paris.”
Each chapter of Dr. Ferrell’s book examines an exchange that took place around The Rose, exploring the relationship between the artists involved. Dr. Ferrell argues that these exchanges allowed DeFeo and her friends to work as part of a community, without losing their identities and agency as individual artists.