Artist Spotlight: Alison Underdahl

BLOOD/WATER/PAINT [ Mainstage production, Feb. 2015]

Role: Assistant Stage Manager


What about the story of Artemisia or the play Blood/Water/Paint are you most intrigued by right now?
I keep seeing modern examples of this theme. The film Big Eyes about another artist, Margaret Keane, whose husband took credit for her work for decades. There was a great article in Slate the other day, It’s Not Just Björk: Women Are Tired of Not Getting Credit for Their Own Music. It outlined how pervasive this issue is in the music industry. More personally, I teach math and science and that industry is riddled with examples of men taking credit for female discoveries. The two that pop into my mind are “Pickering’s Women” the female scientists who worked to map and define stars and Rosalind Franklin and her work on the structure of DNA which was appropriated by three male scientists who later received the Nobel prize.

What part of working on Blood/Water/Paint are you most excited about?
I think getting the name of Artemisia Gentelleschi out there excites me the most. I have always known her. My mom was the  “Picture person” at my elementary school. My brother is an artist. I went on the study art history. I have always known her story and her work. It still blows my mind that people don’t know her. She’s been an inspiration so I’m excited for others to learn about her.

Throughout the process so far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?
I’ll let the artists answer this 🙂

What is your favorite piece by Artemisia Gentileschi?
The beheading. The contrasts between that and the ones her contemporaries were producing are astounding. This work more than her others shows why she was so ground breaking and why female voices need to be part of the dialogue.

What other female artists do you love that you wish everybody knew about?
Edmonia LewisEdmonia Lewis! I just became aware of her myself. Which is sad. She is amazing. She was a female african american sculptor in the 1860’s. She went to Oberlin college, went through a trial. She went to Boston, her work was used as propaganda by the abolitionists and not admired for the beauty and skill. She was well aware she was being used. She eventually went to Rome and studied with the most talented sculptors of the age. Nobody knows where she was buried.

Any favorite quotes, or moments from rehearsal that you are willing to share?
I’ll let the artists answer this 🙂

Tell us about any upcoming projects  that you’re excited about!
! At Annex. All new work by women. Come discover new female artists.