WHILE IN GRADUATE SCHOOL in Champaign-Urbana, I took the Illinois Central Railroad to Chicago and saw a hard-edged Al Held painting in a show of Minimalism at the Art Institute of Chicago, which had a big impact on me.
The earliest painting in my retrospective at the Neuberger, In and Out, 1968, was influenced by that Al Held work. When I moved to New York after graduate school, I thought I was going to meet the Abstract Expressionists. I found out very quickly that there was no place for me, though; I wasn’t going to be sleeping with Milton Resnick or any of those guys for passion, for love, or to become an artist. My involvement with the women’s movement started out as a strict practice of feminist consciousness-raising, and then I got involved in the lesbian movement, which really changed my life. I blossomed in a way I don’t think I would have without it. I’d watched my mother and my aunt, who is a well-known painter in Philadelphia, be isolated and stepped on. It was hard to imagine a career as a female artist then—but I loved painting.