Mildred Howard (American, born 1945)
silkscreen on paper,
22 x 22 in. (55.88 x 55.88 cm)
Archival Collection of Marion Boulton Stroud and Acadia Summer Arts Program, Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Gift from the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation, 2018.10.8.4. © Courtesy the Artist and Anglim/Trimble, San Francisco.
Working in the tradition of collage and assemblage, Mildred Howard brings this practice to bear in her printed work, Thirty-Eight Double Dee. Without including a figural representation of the female body, Howard uses abstract objects to express ideas related to womanhood and femininity, pairing a gauzy, floral-printed white bra with a two-dozen carton of eggs. The title of the work, referencing a woman’s bra measurements, helps one understand the connection between these mundane objects. In the absence of a woman’s presence, her metaphorical body is suggested through the intentional placement of the objects. The bra and the full carton of eggs suggest fertility and the role women take as mothers and life sustainers. Of particular importance is the “FRAGILE” warning stamped on the top of the carton, suggesting either fragility of unborn life or offering a critique on the stereotype that women are inherently fragile.