Nero speaks on influential woman artist

Professor of art history, Dr. Irene Nero, gave a lecture entitled “Audrey Flack: Revisiting Realism” on March 17 at 12:30 p.m. on the third floor of Sims Memorial Library. Her presentation was part of the “Let’s Talk: Art” lecture series, which was organized by the department of fine and performing arts. Lectures such as this one are held once a month during each semester and are sponsored by the Sims Memorial Library and the Hammond Regional Arts Center (HRAC).

Nero’s lecture focused on the photorealism painter Audrey Flack. Photorealism is an art genre, using photographs to create a painting that is as realistic as the photograph. Though not officially part of the events organized by the department of history and political science for Women’s History Month, the topic was chosen based on Flack’s contribution to the art world.

“She’s one of the most powerful and inventive women,” said Nero. “She’s also the woman who broke a lot of male boundaries. She went head-to-head with the power structure, which was all male during that time, and gave us things that never happened before. She’s really pivotal in women’s rights and women’s issues and in taking art to a new direction.”

According to Nero, Flack was painting at the same time as influential artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Flack was determined to break the mold of abstract expressionism, and the male artists of the time refused to respect her unique style.

“Since I’m already interested in painting, I was already interested in Audrey Flack, but Dr. Nero brings this excitement to a lecture that most lectures don’t have,” said Georgia Polkey, a junior majoring in painting. “She has a different perspective on things and brings a certain humor and intelligence to her lectures that I like.”  

Nero also talked about the progression of Flack’s career as an artist. Flack’s daughter, Melissa, was autistic, and the painter suffered greatly because of her child’s disability. She turned to her mother and other female relatives and friends for support. Through this experience, she was inspired to create art that focused on the power and strength of women.

“It was very eye-opening to learn how one woman changed the face of art by using techniques unlike any other artist of the time,” said Devin Reeson, a junior majoring in graphic design.