Artist Statement


Juanita McNeely: Art and Life Entwined

Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. 32, No.2 (Fall/Winter, 2011): 38-45.
By Sharyn M. Finnegan

Juanita McNeely Window Series
Juanita McNeely, Window Series: Ladder (1999), oil on linen, 72”x 72”

New York feminist artist Juanita McNeely lives to paint. The inspiring personal journey of this artist has given shape to her intimately entwined art and life…and life gave her a hell of a story. Focused on the figure, often herself, as an active agent in interiorized expressionist images, her work is “both a response to and the starkest expression of women’s burgeoning consciousness of their sexuality,” according to April Kingsley. No one paints the body like McNeely does or with more imagination, gravity and anatomy-defying, yet whole and believable. This article explores the roots of her dynamic and powerful work in her life, drawn from a series of interviews I had with this dear friend of 35 years in the winter of 2010. As she says, “If you lined up all my work, you’d have my life.”

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Claire Moore

Woman's Art Journal, Vol. 2, No.1 (Spring/Summer, 1981): 53-56.
By Sharyn M. Finnegan

As a young artist in the ‘70s, I became friends with Claire Moore at the MacDowell Colony. A unique and gutsy lady, she emerged from the fiercely male NY art world of the 1940s. With a healthy irreverence for art, and unconfined by traditional boundaries, she worked in both abstract and figurative modes…a charcoal sketch peers through a painting; her drawings can be made completely of words; her prints take on new and inventive forms. I admired her enormously and found her an inspiring role model, a pluralist artist not easily categorized. This article is the result of several extensive interviews with her in 1980 and it is not just her history, but also a history of the art scene in NY during her lifetime.

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Better Than Ever: Women Figurative Artist of the '70s SoHo Co-ops, Catalog Introduction

by Sharyn Finnegan

This essay discusses the confluence of the national Women's Movement with the rise of artists' co-operative galleries in the then industrial neighborhood of SoHo in NYC between 1969 and 1974. Half of all the artists involved in the cooperatives then were women, an unusual representation of that gender at a time when ninety-eight percent of the galleries in American did not represent a single woman artist. The co-ops played a pioneering role in the development of that neighborhood as an art scene, as well as fostering more equitable opportunities for women artists in the larger art world. The liveliness of that early SoHo community is described from my personal experience as a figurative artist in the Prince Street Gallery at that time. As curator of the exhibit and catalog, I present a small, but very personal sampling of the women artists who participated in that community...

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