margery freeman appelbaum

My mixed media works explore the portrayal of contemporary female identity against the backdrop of the female experience throughout history. I am devoted to giving a voice to my generation, who came of age in the 1960’s and 70’s, as well as generations of women before me.

Inspired by the stories of friends and family, as well as those of women in ancient cultures and mythology, my multi-layered constructions incorporate materials such as oil paint, photography, digital drawing, paper, wire, and encaustic wax. Many of my subjects are composites, combining self-portraits with images of my mother and family friends, to create a universal female portrait. My figures don’t conform to society’s prescribed concepts of beauty. Skin is blemished, bellies are swollen, and arms and feet misshapen. My work also challenges us to see older women as sexual beings.

My most recent work centers on the concept of containment—of women forced to live within the constraints and limitations of cultural prescriptions. I utilize the formal design of ancient Greek urns called amphora, and characters from Greek mythology populate the work, trapped inside these vessels. Yet, in my reinterpretation of the myths, women’s destinies are not held in the hands of mythological Gods. Instead of succumbing to tragedy, they are emboldened. They overcome circumstance, and find the power and freedom to build their own future.

My generation of women crossed into a world unlike that of our mothers before us. We expanded our identities, balancing the roles of wife, mother, and working professional. As an artist, my work celebrates our ability to fulfill these multiple roles while nurturing and growing our dreams.

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