About the Artist
Although there are numerous portraits of men throughout the various buildings at Colby College, I can find no images of Colby women anywhere on the college campus, with the exception of unlabelled sports photographs in the gymnasium lobby. My ""Where Are the Women?"" project is an ongoing series of portraits of some of the notable women who attended Colby College in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, done in mixed-media techniques which play with conventions of nineteenth-century portraiture and academic realism, in balance with abstract surfaces and attention to materials. I want the work to be more gestural and active than conventional portraiture but as large in scale as the male portraits which are usually hung in the President''s Room at Miller Library.
The series includes Mary Caffrey Low, the first woman to attend the college in 1871, as well as Louise Helen Coburn of Skowhegan and Elizabeth Gorham Hoag of Waterville, who were among the original founders of the Sigma Kappa Sorority at Colby. One of the founders, Frances Elliot Mann, writes that the first women at Colby became close to one another, and, ""The more so as they soon learned that there existed much opposition to their presence in the college, not only among the students, but among professors as well."" Also included is Marion Osborne, the first black woman to graduate from Colby in 1900. Marion was the daughter of Sam Osborne, the long-time college janitor and freed slave.
Women''s images should be visible and exist in the public eye of the college. These women should be recognized as contributors to Colby''s history and evolution, and deserve the social recognition and historical power which they earned at great cost. I also want students, faculty, and staff to see these women in portraits which I hope remind us of intellectual courage as well.
Preferred Audiences: College, Adult
Disciplines: Visual Arts, Painting
Margaret Libby189 Smithfield Road
Oakland ME 04963