Butterfly Test Plates (Set of 5) - Judy Chicago - Jessica Silverman Gallery
    Butterfly Test Plates (Set of 5), 1973-1974
    China paint on porcelain
    Each plate, 12 1/2 inches / 31.8 cm
    This historically important series of five paintings on porcelain foreshadows the artist’s masterpiece The Dinner Party. Butterflies are symbols of metamorphosis, flight, and freedom. Emblematic of feminine beauty and orgasmic joy, the butterfly plates also wink wryly at Margaret Atwood’s first novel, The Edible Woman, as well as the works of other cunning linguists. At a time when art shunned ceramics and Playboy revealed all, Chicago was fearless in putting feminist erotica on the table and subverting traditional hierarchies of art and craft.
    The butterfly plates embody the stylistic signatures of Chicago's painting. They are shimmeringly precise; they use rainbow colors and ombre transitions; they feature her Palmer-method handwriting. A high-concept, high-design artist, Chicago was obsessed with perfecting her skills in diverse modes of painting. She went to autobody school to learn how to spray-paint in a class of six hundred men. Then she trained in glaze painting at the kitchen tables of a handful of women.