Modern Art Monday Presents: Patti Warashina, Gold Finger

patti warashina goldfinger photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Patti Warashina’s Kilns series subversively undermined the macho “cult of the kiln:” a phrase used to coin the sexist culture that surrounded kiln-building during the mid-twentieth century. As a ceramics student at the University of Washington, Warashina observed that kiln-building lessons were directed towards men, while surface decoration was the jurisdiction of women.

gold finger photo by gail worley

In response,  she created a pointed feminist critique, taking symbolic control over the image. Gold Finger (1973) can be read as a female stereotype imposed on a male one, with its shiny gilt decorative surface and two protruding fingers, their nails painted bright red. Fairy-tale depictions of beanstalks and peas further emphasize the playful yet gendered imagery, exposing problematic conventions.

gold finger photo by gail worley

Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.

Leave a Reply