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Guest speaker Melinda Barlow discusses art use by women

Staff Reporter

Published: Monday, November 5, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 23:11

Women are neither complicated nor simple. The art and memories they collect cannot be mimicked nor recreated because like everyone else they each hold a personal identity. 


That was the message given to more than 100 students and faculty by Melinda Barlow, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Thursday at SHSU.


The Art Department invited Barlow to speak to students about her work, “Collecting Women: What We Treasure and Why.”


Using multimedia, Barlow discussed the ways women have used art, film, found objects and personal mementos to express those various aspects that define personal identity.


Drawing from examples from her personal collection of art, the experimental films of Marjorie Keller, and found art home movie collected by Jeanne Liotta, Barlow said that representations of women are fraught with multiple meanings.


Take the tutu. In each collection, representations of girls in tutus signify purity even though the name is derived from a French slang term for the derrière.


Barlow discussed women’s desire and what women cherish, hold onto, and seek out using examples from films, art and literary works of women. The images used in the discussion can be found at


Barlow is a historian and curator who specialized in work by contemporary women film and video makers, while also writing about the art of mentoring women.


While organizing more than 50 local and national mentoring workshops, Barlow has also contributed to numerous art, film and theater journals.  She is the recipient of the several film and teaching awards.


Her current work is a book on film, female identity and art collecting titled, “My Museum: A memoir in Art” which includes her latest published essay in the UT-Austin online journal FLOW, “Who Was That Masked Woman?: Rediscovering the Hidden Mother.”

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