About the Artist

Ann Stewart Anderson

One of Louisville’s premier artists, Ann Stewart Anderson, died March 4 at Hosparus, Norton Pavilion, after a short illness. She was 84 years and 1 day old.
Along with her sisters, Lanier Williams of Portland, Oregon and Mary Anderson of Cambridge, Mass., Ann Stewart was a “PK,” a Preacher’s Kid, the daughters of Olof Anderson and Martha Ward Jones Anderson. Rev. Anderson led Presbyterian congregations in Lebanon and Richmond, KY., before moving his family to Louisville to head Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church.
A graduate of Eastern High School and Wellesley College, Ann Stewart, when asked how long she had been an artist said usually, “I don’t remember the first time I held a paintbrush.” When asked how long it took her to paint a particular painting, she usually replied “All my life.” After graduating from Wellesley with an art history degree, she moved to Washington, D.C., “I must have thought I was an heiress,” she often said, for the first jobs she found paid so little they could support only an heiress with an independent income. In Washington, she worked at the Corcoran Gallery, and later taught art in the Montgomery County, MD public schools while she earned a master’s degree in painting from American University.
In 1966 she moved to Chicago; she was employed by the Art Institute of Chicago, where she quickly rose to become Dean of Students, a position that tempered her spirit and tested her diplomatic skills as she dealt with students involved in the heady days of the late 1960s, including the protests around the Democratic Convention of 1968. After two unsuccessful attempts at applying for the the Mary Elvira Stevens Traveling Fellowship, awarded to Wellesley alumnae, she won the fellowship in 1975, when she was 40. The fellowship is awarded “to persons with good temper and a natural generosity of view when confronted with alien conditions, common sense in observing and comprehending social, economic, and political situations, a strong desire to travel, and a deep love of beauty.” Throughout her life she continued to embrace and exhibit all of those qualities.
With the Stevens fellowship Ann Stewart spent a year in Egypt working on a photographic project: she photographed scenes of daily life (plowing, planting, harvesting; making beer and bread and mud-bricks; plucking ducks; fishing with nets in the river delta) as depicted in Pharaonic-era tomb paintings, and then she sought out in contemporary Cairo and Egyptian villages modern-day Egyptians going about similar daily work, often strikingly similar to what was shown three thousand years ago in tomb decoration depicting the bounty of the Nile Valley.
Ann Stewart returned to the states in 1976, just as the King Tut exhibits began touring American museums. She, too, toured the South, lecturing in cities scheduled to exhibit the Tutankhamen treasures, using slides from her project to prepare audiences to better appreciate the art in the show.
Settling temporarily, she thought, back in Louisville in 1977, and needing a job, she interviewed with Tom Pike, (whom she remembered as the annoying younger brother of her old school friend Lindsey), who hired her as Saint Francis High School’s first artist-in-residence. There she developed a curriculum challenging students, among other projects, to understand color theory by mixing paint colors to match objects around the school, and to open their eyes and minds to art possibilities around them by creating artwork using found objects discovered within a five-block radius of SFHS’s downtown campus. She also started a visiting artist program, inviting local artists with expertise in techniques other than hers, such as sculptor Ed Hamilton and stitchery artist Sunshine Joe Mallard, to teach a unit of their specialty. At Saint Francis High School Ann Stewart also met a fellow founding faculty member, Ron Mikulak; they married in 1981, the first of several faculty marriages inadvertently brought about by matchmaker manqué, Headmaster Tom Pike.
Invited by the Louisville Visual Art Association in 1985 to participate in a project called “Collaborative Effort,” overcoming her instinctive timidity with chutzpah, she asked nationally-known artist Judy Chicago to collaborate with her on a feminist art word. The result was the Hot Flash Fan, a large-scale fabric work depicting the losses to and benefits for women of menopause. Ann Stewart recruited dozens of local embroiderers, crocheters, seamstresses and other fabric specialists to lend their expertise in fashioning the piece. The Hot Flash Fan has been exhibited several times, locally and nationally, and is now owned by the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
In 1991 she retired from teaching to become the Executive Director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women, for which she had several times served as a project consultant, a post she held for seven years. During her tenure she supervised the awarding of grants to dozens of feminist artists each year, and oversaw the statewide KFW 10th Anniversary shows that highlighted the work of previous grant recipients in a range of artistic endeavors.
Throughout her life Ann Stewart painted images of women’s experience, expressed in a multitude of ways. Bothered by the rash of marriages of young friends and classmates as she remained single, she painted a series of Ugly Brides, all of which sold, except the one which remains one of her husband’s favorite works. She painted self-portraits reflected distortedly in shiny objects like teapots and toasters. She painted a series of women in conversation with other women; a series of women shopping; a series of women primping in front of vanity mirrors. A vacation in Sicily, touring the ancient Greek ruins there, inspired in her a renewed interest in Greek mythology, a subject she loved as a girl. The result was a large-scale, 15-foot painting relating the story of Demeter and Persephone, seen as a mother’s despair at losing a daughter to marriage; a series of small paintings, arranged in a spiral on the wall, suggesting the trials of Theseus in the labyrinth; a series depicting sisters Helen and Clytemnestra at various stages in their lives; a series exploring the the story of the sacrifice of Iphigenia by her father Agamemnon; and finally the series Mythic Women Juxtaposed, in which she explored the archetypal resonance of women from myth to contemporary women. In that series she paired Aphrodite with Marilyn Monroe, Cassandra (whose prophecies were cursed never to be believed) and Rachel Carson and the Delphic sybil (who gave cryptic advice to petitioners) with Ann Landers, among others.
After a 25th anniversary trip to Barcelona, where she saw how the architect Gaudi used broken crockery as decorative elements in his buildings, she began to make broken dish mosaics, usually depicting women in stylish clothes and extravagant hats. That work led to her last long series that she began when she moved from her spacious Shelby Park studio to a condo in the Highlands. There, in a small but light-filled space, she started to create her WOWs, Wonderful Old Women, paper mosaics depicting older women who refuse to let age diminish their love of display, their interest in fashion, their willingness to be looked at for the strong, independent people they present themselves as. As her husband liked to say in explaining her work, no longer able to paint in oils in a confined space, she painted with paper. She was working on new WOWs the day she entered the hospital with pneumonia and complications from Parkinson’s disease. Her studio assistants Laura Devlin and Julie Gorda helped to bring those works to completion, achieving the death that she wished for, to be, like Matisse, working as an artist on her last day.

 

For questions about Ann Stewart’s work,

please contact Julianne Gorda.

gordacompound@gmail.com

 

EDUCATION:

1957 Wellesley College, B.A. (History of Art)
1961 The American University, M. A. (Painting)

 

AWARDS:

2017 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship, Kentucky Arts Council
2002 Individual Grant, The Kentucky Foundation for Women
1998 Professional Development Grant, Kentucky Arts Commission
1998 Sallie Bingham Award, Kentucky Foundation for Women
1991 Southern Arts Federation, New Forms Regional Initiative Grant
1988 Purchase Award, Kentucky Graphics
1987 Individual Grant, The Kentucky Foundation for Women
1986 Charles Logan Memorial Prize, Water Tower Art Association, Water Tower Annual
1985 Robert Cooke Enlow Memorial Purchase Award, Evansville Museum of Art and Science
1975 Mary Elvira Stevens Traveling Fellowship, Wellesley College

 

RESIDENCY

1996 The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts

 

LECTURES (selected)

2009 University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library, The Nine Muses
1996 University of Nebraska at Omaha, Images of Menopause, an Artist’s Viewpoint
1995 University of Virginia, Images of Menopause
1994 University of Kentucky Art Museum, Recent Work
1994 University of Kentucky, Arts Professionals
1993 University of Louisville, Art Department, Working with Fabric and Pattern
1992 Women’s Caucus for the Arts, Ladies Lunch Project

 

OTHER

Adjudicator: National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Visual Art, Miami, 1995,1996 Project conception and creation: Reject Project, 2000, final exhibit at Louisville Visual Art Association, March 2001

 

COMMISSION

2008 The Nine Muses, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library, Bingham Poetry Room

 

CORPORATE COLLECTIONS INCLUDING

Drake Hotel, Chicago
Turtle Wax Company, Chicago
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Louisville
Brown Foreman Distillers
Atlantic Richfield Corporation
Evansville Museum of Arts and Science
Alabama Power Company
Central Bank, Lexington
Hilliard Lyons, Louisville
Cleveland Clinic
Makers Mark Distillery

 

FEATURED AND SOLO SHOWS

2017 Sisters: A Family Resemblance, Galerie Hertz, Louisville, KY
2016 Group Exhibition #1, Galerie Hertz, Louisville, KY
2015 Collage and Assemblage, Galerie Hertz.Louisville, KY
2014 Gallery Artists, Galerie Hertz
2014 Infinite Perspectives, Mayor’s Gallery, City Hall, Louisville
2013 WOW : Wonderful Old Women, PYRO Gallery,Louisville
2011 Women and War from Troy to Terrorism Actor’s Theatre of Louisville
2011 Women and War from Troy to Terrorism. PYRO Gallery, Louisville
2010 Mythic Women Juxtaposed, Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, KY
2008 Mosaic Ladies, Dolfingers, Louisville
2007 Immortals: Icons/Images, Pyro Gallery, Louisville
2007 Mortal Sin/Mitigating Virtue. Pyro Gallery, Louisville
2005 Mythic Women Juxtaposed, Actors Theatre of Louisville
2003 Helen and Clytemnestra, Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey
2002 Mythic Women, University of Kentucky Art Museum
2001 The Box, Images Friedman Gallery, Louisville, KY
2001 Inequitable Conditions, Montgomery Gallery, Mt. Sterling, KY
2000 The Mythology of Womanhood, Indianapolis Art Center
1998 Mother and Daughter Series, Pegasus Gallery, Louisville International Airport
1998 New Works, Houchens Gallery, Capitol Arts Center, Bowling Green KY
1997 Woman-Talk, Jewish Community Center, Louisville
1995 New Paintings, Steinway Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC
1994 The Shopping Experience, Liberty Gallery, Louisville
1993 Dixie Darlin’s, Artswatch, Louisville
1992 Ladies Lunch, New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art
1990 Fanfares, Headley Whitney Museum, Lexington
1989 Ladies’ Room, McGrath Gallery, Louisville
1988 Fanfares, SOHO 20 Gallery, New York
1985 Vanities, Swearingen Gallery, Louisville
1981 J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville
1979 Huff Gallery, Spalding University
1973 Montgomery Gallery, Rockville, MD
1963 Art Center, Louisville,
1960 Olney Gallery, Olney MD

 

INVITED AND GROUP SHOWS

2017 Gridworks Revisited, New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY
2013 Breakfast Group Show, Jewish Community Center,Louisville
2012 New Work, New Location, PYRO Gallery, Louisville
2012 Breakfast Group Show , Firehouse Gallery, Louisville
2011 Signature Dish, PYRO Gallery, Louisville
2009 Partnership: Art From the Heart of Pyro, The Weber Gallery
2009 White, PYRO Gallery, Louisville
2009 Art Spirits, Zurkuhlen Gallery, Louisville
2009 Story Artists, Zurkuhlen Gallery, Louisville
2009 Work by Food For Thought Artists, Louisville Art Association
2008 The Garden, PYRO Gallery, Louisville
2007 Earth, PYRO Gallery, Louisville
2006 I do, I do, Louisville Visual Art Association
2003 Here and There, Brunz-Rosowsky Gallery, Las Vegas, NV
2001 By Invitation, Belknap Gallery, University of Louisville
2001 Inequitable Conditions, Montgomery Gallery, Mr. Sterling, KY
2000 Mary Anderson Center Exhibit, Actor’s Theater of Louisville
2000 Nature Revisited, Tower Cerlan Gallery, Lexington
1999 Made in Kentucky, II, University of Kentucky Art Museum
1998 Americans: A Satirical Parade, J.B…. Speed Art Museum, Louisville
1998 Birdie II, Indiana University Southeast
1997 Original Stories, Louisville Visual Art Association
1995 The Education of the Artist, Capitol Arts Center, Bowling Green, KY
1992 Refiguration, Gallery 10, Washington, DC
1991 Kingman Gallery, Quito, Ecuador
1991 Collective Contrasts. Zephyr Gallery, Louisville
1989 Dolls by Artists, Louisville Visual Art Association
1988 Thanatopsis, Louisville Visual Art Association
1988 ME: Artists’ Self Portraits, Liberty Gallery, Louisville
1988 The Experienced Eye, Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts, Kentucky
1987 State of Mind, Traveling show by Kentucky artists
1986 Todd Capp Gallery, New York
1985 Collaborative Effort “Hot Flash Fan” (with Judy Chicago) Martha White Gallery
1982 Winter Regional Show, Martha White Gallery, Louisville
1962 La Boheme, Arlington VA
1960 LaRue Gallery, Washington, DC
1960 Pyramid Gallery, Richmond VA

 

JURIED:

2018   Art for the View-An Exhibition Celebrating Artists with Physical Disabilities, Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Schenectady, NY
2018   Brand 46 Annual National Juried Exhibition of Works on Paper, Glendale, CA
2018 Kentucky Visions at the Capitol, Frankfort, KY
2018 Americas: 2018, Paperworks Northwest Art Center, Minot, N.D.
2017 Artists in Our Midst, Kaviar Forge and Gallery, Louisville
2016 Mazin Annual Art Exhibit, Jewish Community Center, Patio Gallery
2016 58th Mid-States Art Exhibition, Evansville Museum of Art and Science
2015 Kentucky Artists, Janice Mason Art Museum, Cadiz, Ky
2009 Visions at the Capitol: Derby Exhibition, Frankfort , KY
2009 Artist Members Show , Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
2008 The Mark of Great Art, Maker’s Mark Distillers
2005 Women of Wisdom, Bernheim Gallery, Louisville
2003 Water Tower Annual, Louisville Visual Art Association
1996 Woman, the Artists’ View, Bennington Center for the Arts, VT,
1996 What I Ate and When. Art Center of Douglas County, Castle Rock, CO
1994 Opening Doors, Art Center of Douglas County, Castle Rock, CO,
1994 Wise Woman, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago
1994 Red Clay Exhibit, Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama
1991 Art Festival, Decatur Georgia
1990 Transformations: Feminist Art by Louisville Artists, Louisville Visual Art Association
1989 Regional Exhibit, Indianapolis Art League
1989 The Human Figure, Atlanta Festival
1989 Water Tower Annual Louisville, Visual Art Association
1988 Kentucky Graphics, Headley-Whitney Museum
1988 Mid America Biennial, Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts (Kentucky)
1987 Water Tower Annual, Water Tower Art Association
1986 Showcase ‘86, Water Tower Art Association
1986 Women’s Sensibilities, WARM Gallery, Minneapolis
1986 Kentucky Show, J.B. Speed Museum
1985 38th Annul Midstates Annual Exhibition, Evansville Museum of Art and Science
1984 Water Tower Annual, Art Center Association, Louisville
1983 Kentucky Art, University of Kentucky Art Museum
1982 Mid America Biennial, Owensboro Fine Arts Museum (Kentucky)
1981 Southern Exposure II, Art Center Association, Louisville
1977 Hyatt Regency Exhibition, J.B. Speed Museum
1975 New Horizons, North Show Art League, Chicago
1967 National Drawing and Small Sculpture Exhibition, Ball State University
1966 National Show of Drawings, Mulvane Art Center, Topeka, KA
1962 15th Area Exhibition, The Corcoran Gallery of Art
1961 Religious Art Exhibit, Smithsonian Institution
1958 13th Area Exhibition, The Corcoran Gallery of Art

 

ARTICLES AND PUBLICATIONS

Women Who Have Made a Difference, Portraits of Grace,Marian Call and Joan Zehnder, 2007

“Mythic and Contemporary Women” by Carrider Jones, Arts Across Kentucky, Winter, 2005

Mythic Women Juxtaposed, Card Brochure, 2005

Mythic Women, Folder Brochure, 1998

Kentucky Women:Two Centuries of Indomitable Spirit and Vision, ed Eugenia Potter, Big Tree Press, 1997

The Best of Oil Painting, Rockport Publishers, Inc., 1996

“Visible Difference, Women Artists and Aging” by Joanna Freuh, New Feminist Criticism, Harper Collins, New York, 1994

“Fighting Prejudice with a Paint Brush” by Anna H. Bedford, Horizons, March/April, 1993

“Creating a Visual Image of Menopause: The Hot Flash Fan” by Ann Stewart Anderson, Menopause, a Midlife Passage , ed. Joan C. Callahan, Indiana University Press, 1993

“Woman Artists Look at Aging” by Linda Factor, The Creative Woman, Volume XIII, Number 1, 1993

“Fanfares: An Artist Looks at Menopause” by Ann Stewart Anderson, Women of the Fourteenth Moon, ed. Dena Taylor and Amber Coverdale Summrall, The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA, 1991

“Candid Cameo”, Louisville Magazine, October, 1985

“Always There is Daylight : The Artist, Her Studio, and Her Work in the Journals of Ann Stewart Anderson, by Bob Gottleib, Beaux Arts Magazine, Summer, 1984

“Hang Ups” Ann Stewart Anderson, by Jan Arnow, Fiberarts, January/February, 1980