Tee A. Corrine
Linda Tee Cutchin
November 3, 1943
|Died||August 27, 2006 (aged 62)|
Tee A. Corinne (November 3, 1943 – August 27, 2006) was a photographer, author, and editor notable for the portrayal of sexuality in her artwork. According to Completely Queer : The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia, "Corinne is one of the most visible and accessible lesbian artists in the world."
Corinne was born and grew up in Florida. Her mother introduced her to principles and techniques for making visual art. According to Corinne, "I have seldom succeeded in keeping a diary, but I have almost always carried a drawing pad, and since my eighth year, I have also had a camera."
Corinne spent her first year of college (1962-3) studying art at Newcomb College in New Orleans, LA, where she studied painting with Ida Kohlmeyer. She then transferred back to Florida, where she earned a B.A. in printmaking and painting (with minors in English and history) from University of South Florida, Corinne went on to get an M.F.A. in drawing and sculpture at Pratt Institute in 1968. After a few years of teaching and backpacking in Europe, she became attracted to the back-to-the-land movement and communal living. She was also, in her words, sliding into suicidal depression.
Something didn't feel right. Nowadays they talk about over-achieving adult children of alcoholics and the problems they have with depressions . . . Around the age of thirty I realized that art could no longer solve my problems . . . I found therapy, separated from my husband, became involved with women and joined the Women's Movement. I felt better.
Corinne began exhibiting and publishing art and writing in the mid-1960s.
Her first notable work was in 1975, and is still in print today. Aged 27, she realised that although her art education had enabled her to depict male genitals, she had not observed her own since she was a child. "I knew that the things we don't have names for, or images of, are the ones we label crazy or bad. I believed that reclaiming labial imagery was a route to claiming personal power for women." She decided to produce artistic images of vulvas, and self-published the Cunt Coloring Book, reclaiming the word "cunt"; it was later issued by a publisher as Labiaflowers.
She was a co-facilitator of the Feminist Photography Ovulars (1979–1981) (cf seminar) and a co-founder of The Blatant Image, A Magazine of Feminist Photography (1981–1983). She was the author of one novel, three collections of short stories, four books of poetry and numerous artists books and small edition publications.
Family, her show of mixed media drawings about growing up in an alcoholic family, has been the subject of a video interview by Jane Scott Productions. Portfolios of her art have been published in Lesbian Subjects, Feminist Studies, Gallerie: Women's Art, The Advocate, Philadelphia Gay News, The Lesbian Inciter, I Am My Lover (first edition, 1979) and Femalia.
In 1980, she was one of the ten invited artists whose work was exhibited in the Great American Lesbian Art Show.
In the early 1980s, Tee Corinne developed strong personal and artistic connections to Oregon after she moved to southern Oregon and lived and became active in the many women's communities springing up in the area. As she notes in one of her manuscripts, "Slowly, in Oregon, I reconnected with the deep levels of creativity that run in me and began producing work which pleased me."
She became adept at representing lesbian sexuality in ways that would elude the male gaze. In 1982, she produced a series of photographs called Yantras of Womanlove. Concerned with protecting the privacy of her models, she used techniques involving multiple prints, solarization, images printed in negative, and multiple exposures. Tee consistently and conscientiously included women of color, large women, older women, and women with disabilities as her subjects. Sometimes printers would refuse to print her works and art galleries would refuse to show it.
Corinne wrote about art for a variety of publications and, from 1987, was the art books columnist for Feminist Bookstore News. A co-founder and past co-chair of the Gay & Lesbian Caucus (an affiliated society of the College Art Association), she also co-founded the Women's Caucus for Art Lesbian & Bisexual Caucus. In 1989, Corrine received a Lambda Literary Award in the lesbian anthology category for her editing of Intricate Passions (published by Banned Books). In 1991, she was chosen by Lambda Book Report as one of the fifty most influential lesbians and gay men of the decade, and in 1997 she received the Women's Caucus for Art President's Award for service to women in the arts.
Perhaps her best known work is the cover of the 1993 self-titled debut album of the English alternative rock band Suede. In 1998, her photographs appeared on the cover and sleeve of the timmi-kat ReCoRDS' release, "Milkshake: A CD to Benefit The Harvey Milk Institute".
In 1966, Corinne married the man she described as her 'best friend'. She came out in 1975 at which time she was in a relationship with Honey Lee Cottrell. Over the years, Corrine embarked upon relationships with Caroline Overman (early 1980s), Lee Lynch (mid 1980s) and Beverly Anne Brown (1989–2005). In 2003, Brown was diagnosed with cancer, which led to Corinne's series "Cancer in our Lives" (2003-5).
Corinne died on the 27th August 2006 in Southern Oregon after a struggle with liver cancer. She was 62 years old. Her manuscript collection was donated to the University of Oregon Libraries, and is now housed in the library's Special Collections unit. The collection includes correspondence, literary manuscripts, artwork, photographs, artifacts, and other documents that reflect Corinne's life and work.
Moonforce Media created the Tee A. Corinne Prize for Lesbian Media Artists in 2006 to annually honor Corinne as an artist with bold vision and a fierce dedication to encouraging and preserving lesbian art. The award is an unrestricted grant of up to $1,000 annually. The prize is dedicated to artists working in photography, film, video, digital media, new media, or any fusions of these forms and in any genre including documentary, narrative, experimental, or any other styles or combination of genres. The award furthers Corinne's wish that individual lesbian artists be financially supported to work independently and without censorship.
Her 2002 book, Intimacies, Photos by Tee A. Corinne, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. She won the Women's Caucus for Art President's Award 1997 and the Abdill-Ellis Lambda Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia, called Tee A. Corinne "one of the most visible and accessible lesbian artists in the world."