Artist Spotlight: Pride edition
In the summer of 2021, our Special Initiatives Coordinator Derrick Carl Biso put together a special presentation for schools across Windsor-Essex called “We All Belong.” The goal of the presentation was to teach students about artists in AWE’s collection who were from the 2SLGBTQ+ community and to remind students that no matter how someone identifies or who they love, everyone is deserving of connection, support and belonging.
As part of our commemoration of Pride Month in Windsor-Essex, we are shining a spotlight on four artists who were included in the “We All Belong” presentation. These artists also have artwork that is currently on display at Art Windsor-Essex in the exhibition Looking Back, Looking Forward, curated by Derrick Carl Biso. Read on to learn more!
Frances Loring & Florence Wyle
Frances Loring was born in 1887 in Idaho, USA. She studied across Europe, in Geneva, Munich, and Paris before the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She met Florence Wyle as a fellow sculptor student at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1905.
Florence Wyle was born in 1881 in Illinois, USA. She had first intended to be a physician, however, changed her direction after studying sculpture and meeting her lifelong companion, Frances.
The duo first moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1909, and then relocated to Toronto Ontario in 1913 and established themselves there for the rest of their lives. The two became very immersed in Toronto’s art scene and were friends with members of the Group of Seven — even making busts of two of the Group’s members, A.Y. Jackson and Frederick Varley.
The old church that Frances and Florence moved into was renovated into a shared home and studio, and became affectionately known as the ‘Salon of the Canadian Art World’. There, they hosted parties, housed animals, provided lessons to locals and served as a hub for the artistic community. Works made by both of these women adorn buildings and monuments, public spaces and cultural institutions in both Toronto and other urban centres across Canada. The duo received many commissions during the First World War, often of women working on the home front, as well as on the front lines.
Both of the artists were also founding members of the Sculptors’ Society of Canada and also members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. Frances and Florence were steadfast to their aesthetics informed by principles of Classic Greek art and modernism. They were also incredibly committed to each other; the two were soulmates, living and creating together for over 60 years and dying weeks apart in their old age during 1968. Both Frances Loring and Florence Wyle included in their wills that proceeds from the sale of their works were to be used to set up a fund to both purchase the work of young sculptors and have the work exhibited in public galleries across Canada.
Lyne Lapointe and Martha Fleming
Lyne Lapointe is a French-Canadian artist, born in Montreal Quebec in 1957. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art from Carleton University in 1978.
Martha Fleming was born in Toronto in 1958 and attended the University of Toronto. She was involved with various artist-run centres and worked in publishing and graphic design in the early part of her career before meeting Lyne Lapointe in Montreal in 1981. They established a romantic and collaborative relationship, and are well known for their site-specific installations in marginalized neighbourhoods in Montreal, and in a number of larger cities.
Their works were explicitly grounded in radical feminism, drawing from a broad range of disciplines to address complex social issues. This work also addressed the systemic discrimination and marginalization of women artists, particularly lesbians, as they had experienced by galleries and museums. Studiolo (1995–1997) is both a book and an exhibition that is a retrospective of Martha and Lyne’s collaborative works; both the book and exhibition incorporate research, process and creative projects shared over their fifteen-year relationship.
The pair ended their collaboration and partnership in 1995. Through their shared work, Martha Fleming and Lyne Lapointe have contributed substantially to addressing the lack of representation of the experiences of lesbians and their exclusion from galleries and museums. They both have also found success in breaking through these barriers. Martha Fleming moved to London England and further immersed herself in interdisciplinary research projects. She has become an established museum professional and academic who has come to specialize in the design, creation and management of interdisciplinary and multi-organizational research projects. Lyne Lapointe has continued her artistic practice in Montreal, participating in a number of individual and group exhibitions across Canada and beyond.