Notes on Fundamental Joy; seeking the elimination of oppression through the social and political transformation of the patriarchy that otherwise threatens to bury us
Standing at the cross section of an artists’ project and historical document, drawing from archival images borne out of the Ovulars, a series of darkroom/photography workshops held in various feminist & lesbian separatist communes of the early 80s across the Pacific Northwest, Notes on Fundamental Joy holds up the work of JEB, Clytia Fuller, Tee Corinne, Ruth Mountaingrove, Katie Niles, Carol Osmer, Honey Lee Cottrell, and others, documenting a community of women/womyn in their collective embrace of the ‘back to the land’ movement.
Through the lens of pervasive image-making—women holding cameras, women taking pictures of women—the project considers the radical potential of social and political optimism predicated on the absence of men.
The photographs are accompanied by a running essay from Winant, stretched across the bottom of each page as if a low horizon line, considering the images’ collective power in picturing intimacy and pleasure. The self-reflexive text contends with the pull Winant feels towards these works—for their unabashedness and beauty—and considers how the images may have life and meaning outside of the subculture that produced them.
The book includes a personal essay by writer and artist Ariel Goldberg realized in two parts, understanding the photographs and wider cultural moment through a broader gender lexicon and in the context of trans-exclusionism. [publisher's note]