Celebrating Female Artists: 7 Painters To gush About
7 Female Painters We’re Celebrating This International Women’s Day
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Art is a human endeavour; the ability to express artistically is inherent in all of us. Unfortunately, as with various other industries, the canon and history of art has been dominated by male talents, with media coverage and attention covering male more often than female artists. The great names that come to mind tend to be male, highlighting the narrow gender spectrum for artistic recognition.
But you can’t keep talent hidden. Particularly since the 20th century, there has been increasing championing of female artists and more coverage of their works in the media at large. It took a while, and is definitely still a work in progress, but the world is now well aware that the spotlight should celebrate achievements regardless of gender.
We celebrate the gifts that these female painters have given to us, and their courage in sticking to their guns, and cementing their place by exposing misconceptions and changing the rules. All the while, never forget that there are many, many more who deserve to be recognized as well.
Hilma af Klint
Hilma af Klint, Courtesy of Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk (via AnOther Magazine)
A name who has been given a much-needed boost in the public domain thanks to a recent documentary, Hilma is now regarded as one of the true pioneers of the abstract art movement. Her canvas paintings have been identified as preceding those of artists who brought the movement into the mainstream, shattering conceptions about its inception.
Diving into spiritualism and pursuing cosmic and metaphysical truths, Hilma’s prolific body of work continues to mesmerise and open our minds to the unfathomable. Throughout a quiet life, her art spoke volumes.
Diego Rivera, The Arsenal, 1928, Secretariat of Public Education (Mexico City) (via Daily Art Magazine)
A key figure in the surrealist art movement, Frida’s eccentric and multi-layered works also espoused and promoted the cultural identity of her native country, Mexico. Her use of evocative self-portraits to express her internal emotional landscapes made for dramatic yet intensely personal works, inspiring a renewed utility in art as a medium for navigating oneself.
Elaine Sturtevant – Warhol Diptych, 1973-2004 (Image via penccil.com)
Arguably foreshadowing the replicative and magpie-like nature of contemporary culture, it’s easy to see the influence of the female American artist’s works on pastiche auteurs that came after. With a body of work that explored repetition, printing, and authenticity, Elaine found originality in “copying”, discombobulating and subverting the meaning of the term in the process. It opened up a new perspective and approach to art and creative work, which is seen all throughout modern culture and society.
CECILY BROWN, HAVE YOU NOT KNOWN, HAVE YOU NOT HEARD [TRIPTYCH], 2011. (via Sotherby’s)
Mashing the visual motifs of painters from Rubens to Bacon into a violent style all her own, Cecily Brown’s depiction of femininity might be seen as brazen, restless, startling; but always honest. Her depiction of human and physical forms in abstraction and figuration don’t just highlight her immense ability, but also shatter patriarchal attitudes about gender and ability, both in craft and imagination. Critical receptions and acclaim towards her work are more than well-deserved, as she continues to blaze her own vivid path in the art world, processing modern conditions of isolation and connection.
Yuki Ogura, Ko-chan Resting, 1960. (via mchangtravels)
It’s surprising to some that a lot of Western and European art was actually inspired by Japanese traditional paintings like nihonga, facilitated by the opening of Pacific economies to Western trade during the Meiji Era. Throughout her long life, Ogura’s nihonga paintings depicted her first-hand witnesses of the changes that Japan underwent during the 20th century. The first female member of the Nihon Bijutsuin academy, Ogura demonstrated a finesse for blending convention and flexibility, and her works helped give female painters stylistic freedoms previously only enjoyed by male artists.
Image via lazyoaf.com (https://www.lazyoaf.com/blogs/story/studio-tours-lydia-yang-oak-bindi)
A homegrown Singaporean painter who also goes by Oak And Bindi, Lydia’s illustrations and paintings have made waves in the local scene, distinctively inspired by 90s cartoons and subcultures. Having worked with established brands including Guess and Vans, eye-catching palettes and a knack for graphic design are channels in which she brings a edginess and positivity to a monotonous urban landscape.
Image from Anne-Laure Herrezuelo’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/annelaureherrezueloartist/)
Painting isn’t just an artistic medium; for some, it’s energy, language, life. Always radiating good vibes and hopefulness, Annelaure’s infectious passion for art has made her an innovative educator, businesswoman and communicator. Her dynamism blends with poignancy and is seen across her body of work, as she goes beyond exploring profound issues to communicating their intangible aspects. And one would say, isn’t that what makes art the ultimate pursuit?
These, and many other, female painters have challenged the misguided notion that art is a man’s world. We celebrate their efforts for showing us that all voices should have the same opportunities to be heard.
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