The American designers who have been overlooked
“Charles himself actually said it was a partnership and an alliance of equals,” says Desmarais. And we’d like to think that Ray’s involvement is now fully acknowledged, but In 2006, The New York Times Magazine referred to the couple as “the Eames brothers”..
In the 1960s and 70s, second-wave feminists embraced pattern and decoration as a feminist strategy. This included Wendy Maruyama, one of the first women to enroll in a fine arts furniture making program in the United States. Known for his innovative wooden furniture, Maruyama said of his early work that it was “about empowerment in a traditionally male-dominated field.”
“He introduced color when furniture makers were still in this period of ‘reverence for wood,'” says Falino. “The guys were all about the wood and the grain, and he challenged that. He brought a kind of fun and attitude to his process. There’s a great physicality to his work, a more sculptural presence. He achieved what the guys couldn’t. . They followed the herd, and he didn’t was willing to do so.
In his seventies, Maruyama is still going strong. “His recent work has dealt with broader issues of the environment and the treatment of animals. He is certainly someone who shows a very strong commitment through his practice,” says Desmarais.
We hope that exhibitions like Parall(elles) will bring more recognition to these phenomenal women. But Desmarais notes that while more attention has been paid to designers like Driscoll in recent years, “there’s a lot more work to be done to bring these women’s achievements to light.”
According to Falino, there is still work to be done regarding the position of contemporary female designers. Although many have reached the top of their professions, “we all know that women still don’t get paid the same as men. You can still experience resistance when you try to navigate a field like architecture that is dominated by men,” she says.
“In 125 years, if you think about the duration of the show, we’ve come a long way. But do we have more to do? Absolutely.”
Parall(elles): The history of women in design It is at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until May 28, 2023.
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