VETERAN FEMINISTS of AMERICA is proud to present

the Artists Section

Suzanne Benton

Benton is a transculturalist whose venues extend from New York City to villages in remote parts of Africa, India, and Nepal and to philosophy and education portals from Calbutta to Cambridge. Art-working travels in the 1990's included a 10 1/2 month world journey that began in India as a Fulbright Scholar, continued to Ireland and then East Africa as a Thanks be to Grandmother Winifred Grantee. Another four month journey carried her to Bulgaria, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Suzanne has since led mask and story work with women and youth in Sarajevo, Bosnia; and completed artist-in-residenceies at Fundacion Valparaiso, Spain, Harvard University, and Weir Farm (Wilton, CT).

Believing that the purpose of art is to explore humanity and that art comes alive as it relates to people's lives, my art draws upon multicultural themes and engages the participation of others. For nearly 30 years and in 28 countries, I've developed my work as a bridge between cultures. I'm drawn to diverse themes steeped in myth, ritual and archetype, and my metier of metal sculptured masks inspired me to create art around the world where I've studied myths and masking and infused my work with this rich material.

A performance as well as a visual artist, my transcultural tales, myths and legends are portrayed through the steel and bronze masks I've created abroad and in the States. I also teach people of all ages and backgrounds in school and community settings to create their own contemporary masks and tales.

Beyond mask and metal, I also work in mixed media and printmaking. 'Secret Future Works' are mixed media sculptures with locked interiors to be opened at a set time in the future. These works counter our impatient demands for instant gratification and any implicit fears for the future that such impatience implies. The unseen, presented within the context of art, challenges us to consider our personal and global futures. The first three of now seventeen "Secret Future Works" have opened between 1995 and 1999. Others, created in India, Bangladesh, Ireland, Kenya, Tanzania, and the States will open in the coming years. Many contain messages placed inside by the peoples of these many countries. Messages from the opened ones speak of hopes, dreams and wisdom.

As a printmaker, I create monoprints (one-of-a-kind prints) using the collage technique, Chine colle (Chinese glued). The collage papers are hand-made, pre-inked and hand-painted. My dimensional printing plates create a rich texture onto the prints. These plates are inked individually for every print. The images and collage papers are placed on the plate. They fuse to the printmaking paper as the plate and paper roll through the etching press. The images in these art works relate to Indian and Turkish miniature painting; South Asian Folk Art; Korean Lore and Legend; Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts; Medieval Manuscripts; The Renaissance; Russian Icons; Greek Mythology; 19th Century Women Writers, Educators and Feminist Activisits; Afro-americans; Native Amercian history; and American Landscapes."

Benton Curated the 1999 exhibit, Facing East: Asian Masks and Artists Inspired by Them for the Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY. She is the Artistic and Managing Director of Positive Power, a series of women artists of CT forums, Benton exhibits widely (over 50 solo shows with representation in museum and private collections worldwide) and has authored The Art of Welded Sculpture and numerous articles. She's listed in Who's Who of American Artists, and International Who's Who of Business and Professional Women.

To contact Suzanne Benton:

Suzanne's Website:

Other Suzanne Benton Links for Performances, Workshops and more!


Spirit Taking Form

Anyone can make art. Finding one's spiritual center can come of making art. Making art can come of finding one's spiritual center. Nancy Azara has been teaching the making of art, art-making as a spiritual practice, and other spiritual practices for thirty-five years. She has developed a system that combines her lifelong spiritual practice with techniques designed to help anyone get and stay in touch with their own inner artistic souls.

Spirit Taking Form is a practical book. It offers lists of materials to work with and exercises and meditation techniques to help everyone bring out their inner voice. It includes specific meditations for healing the inner critic, cultivating imagination, and finding one's artistic heart. Its meditations and exercises can be done many times, and each time they can bring the reader new and richer experiences and deeper insights.

Nancy Azara is a sculptor who has been teaching for thirty-five years. Her sculpture has been widely reviewed in such publications as the New York Times, Art In America, Art Forum, and Sculpture Magazine and has been exhibited widely in the United States and in Europe. She has traveled extensively and was an artist in residence in Kerala, India in 2002. She is the recipient of the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, the Susan B. Anthony Award, and most recently, a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship. Nancy came of age during the feminist movement of the 1960s and began a lifelong spir- itual practice that has influenced her art and led her to teach and perform psychic healing circles. In Spirit Taking Form, she marries both interests.

Contact Nancy Azara:

Linda Stein

Visit Linda Stein's Website!

Knights (A Sculpture Series After 9/11) - 2005

Transition through Sculpture

With this sculpture series, I gradually reinvented the notion of the knight-- but not in the service of war, not even male; rather, a female bodyguard and protective spirit that cannot or will not completely disclaim insecurity in the face of danger:

A figure
Naked albeit
Vested in Finery
Defenseless Armored
Vulnerable Invincible.

A Monument
Sewing Template
Gesture of
Life's Tease:
Random Precise.

A Warrior
Still yet
Thrust into Battle
All Strength Fragility.

(K)Night Figure 470 The replay of 9/11 still permeates my psyche, though I could not write my thoughts down until more than three years later. Yet visually and viscerally I began to address it in my art and could unconsciously relive and relieve the moments when I was vulnerable and distraught. With my hands automatically following orders from the petit tyrant of my brain, I refined another layer of my being: a figurative manifestation of myself--fearless and certain. The part of me that felt powerless and unprotected on that sunny day in September was now fully protected by a warrior-woman, on call to lead in any battle.

pictured right:
(K)Night Figure 470
wood, metal, leather, fiber, stone
49" x 19" x 7"

It is the cauldron of opposites, contradictions and internal battles existing in each of us that excites me in my life and in my art. By scrambling expectations (male/female, power/vulnerability, warrior/peacemaker) I attempt in my sculpture to ask questions, agitate, alarm, and arouse a visceral response in myself and in my viewers. With a combination of fused wood, metal, stone and fiber, I arrive at a form that makes me feel safe.

Two months after 9/11, I had significant surgery. One night, rising from sleep, I walked to the bathroom, closed the door behind me, and fainted. It was only for a brief moment. I fell straight down, not atilt: simply, quietly, softly onto one knee. No damage. No panic. But as I fell, I was aware, at my core, of being the Twin Tower, as I had seen it neatly disappear in its vertical descent. I came to consciousness, rose slowly, and walked back to bed and slept.

pictured right:
Slow Curve 352
wood, metal, stone
53" x 18" x 6"

To this day, when my eyes settle on a tall building, I cannot stop my mind from imagining it go poof, melting in a slow downward slump as I gaze, watching it evaporate in air. I have to will myself to stop gravitating back to the moments when the devastating blow was a reality. It is at these times when my sculptural knights provide me the most solace.

pictured left:

Knight 521
20 3/4" x 4 1/2" x 1 3/4"

Visit Linda Stein's Website!


TEL: 212-964-6007
FAX: 212-964-9170

Joyce Aiken

Contact Joyce:

Joyce Aiken's teaching career took a new slant in the 1970s. "Judy Chicago* came to Fresno State College in 1970 to teach sculpture, and then taught women students here in the first feminist art class in the United States," she relates. "Judy Chicago influenced me . . . she gave permission for women to use their own life experiences and materials--those traditionally used by women but not by men--in mainstream art. Judy Chicago brought out that women hadn't been given a voice."

In 1973, Aiken took over teaching feminist art at CSUF. By 1978 she took a sabbatical to study other feminist art programs in the United States. "Women students now have every advantage, especially freedom of choices. Women get a lot more exhibitions now than they did before. I don't know whether we've come as far as I'd like to see, though. Women who get major exhibitions are those who are long established."

Aiken is a founding member of Gallery 25, a collective of 25 women artists, each of whom has an opportunity to exhibit at 1525 Fulton St. in downtown Fresno.

She continues her efforts to serve the art community by serving on advisory boards and speaking at symposiums. She has served on the review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and other groups and continues to be active in the Women's Caucus for Art.

Other honors Aiken has received include Distinguished Professor at CSUF and the Artist Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Fresno Arts Council.

Joyce Aiken, Coffin, 1972, painted wood, 30" x 72"

Aiken is devoted to her family. She has two grown sons, one grandson, a twin sister and an older sister. Her own work in art expression continues, as she engages in experimenting with different media. "I like not needing to follow the rules," she says. "The women's feminist movement changed me."

*Judy Chicago is a noted artist and proponent of feminist art.

There's more about CSUF -- click below



Etching 18" x 24" February 2001
Presidents' Day

I have always thought of Celtic art, with its intricate design, symmetry and interwoven knot work, as a kind of aesthetic perfection of order and harmony. In the print, the disintegration of the forms and designs express my fear and alarm about contemporary crises in the world. During the months that surrounded the presidential election of 2000, the lines from Yeats were continually running through my mind.

THERE ARE 25 copies of "President's Day" remaining!

Unframed, it's a steal for $400!

For Further Info, visit Judith's Website At:


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

from The Second Coming (1921)
William Butler Yeats