Audrey Niffenegger and Faith Ringgold: Sending Messages

I was fortunate enough to visit the Audrey Niffenegger and Faith Ringgold show this summer, and agree that the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ blog review is spot on. At first the two artists seem almost too stylistically dichotomous to cohesively show together. Ringgold’s work has strong themes of the struggles of black Americans in the 60s using bold, flat colors while Niffenegger’s work focuses on beautiful yet twisted images, favoring birds, women, and flowers. Check out the review to see how these two artists similarly use text within their work. And if you’re interested in Faith Ringgold’s work (or would like to see her quilts which were unfortunately absent from the exhibit) check out this post I wrote on the artist a few years ago.

Broad Strokes: The National Museum of Women in the Arts' Blog

At first glance, the two exhibitions on view this summer at NMWA, Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger and American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s (both on view through November 10) could not feature the work of two more stylistically dichotomous artists.

At one extreme, Audrey Niffenegger conjures up surreal, minimalist depictions of the bizarre, absurd, and nightmarish that speak to her introspective, whimsical approach to art—images that boast figures minutely rendered with delicately drawn lines, muted color palettes, and which allow insight into the artist’s deeply personal fantasies. At the other end of the spectrum is Faith Ringgold, whose bold, colorful, passionate paintings from her American People and Black Light series of the 1960s function on both a personal and political level. Ringgold’s work bravely probed racial tensions from the perspective of a black woman artist during an era when art…

View original post 601 more words

Advertisements

Female Gaze Friday: Shizuka Yokomizo’s “Dear Stranger”

Representations of the male figure in art are far less common than works depicting women. A long history of straight men dominating the art world has led to many images of winsome women, but fewer of beautiful men (I’ve written on this subject before; if you’d like to read more about the lack of male figures in art check it out here).

Every Female Gaze Friday I will post a woman-created work of art depicting a man—one small act to reverse the male gaze! Not all images will be provocative, many will be nonsexual or even disturbing. Hopefully this will be a way of learning more about women artists (as well as looking at dudes)!

This week’s work is Dear Stranger by Shizuka Yokomizo:

Shizuka Yokomizo, Dear Stranger, 1998-2000

Shizuka Yokomizo, Dear Stranger, 1998-2000

Shizuka Yokomizo, Dear Stranger, 1998-2000

Shizuka Yokomizo, Dear Stranger, 1998-2000

Shizuka Yokomizo, Dear Stranger, 1998-2000

Shizuka Yokomizo, Dear Stranger, 1998-2000

Dear Stranger, I am an artist working on a photographic project which involves people I do not know…I would like to take a photograph of you standing in your front room from the street in the evening. A camera will be set outside the window on the street. If you do not mind being photographed, please stand in the room and look into the camera through the window for 10 minutes on __-__-__ (date and time)…I will take your picture and then leave…we will remain strangers to each other…If you do not want to get involved, please simply draw your curtains to show your refusal…I really hope to see you from the window.”

Shizuka Yokomizo’s work involves strangers working together. But unlike many artists exploring the relationship between artist and stranger (for example Sophie Calle and Willem Popelier) she gains the subject’s consent. Those photographed vary in gender, age, race, and many other factors. The only things they truly have in common are their living in ground-floor apartments (in many different cities) and the fact that they complied with the anonymous letters’ requests.

I’ve selected two of Yokomizo’s images featuring men. Yokomizo’s work is particularly interesting in that she did not select her subject and therefore knew nothing of their gender prior to the taking of the photo. The male subjects are also unaware of the artist’s gender, and therefore their poses are independent of the stereotypical relationships between men and women. The subjects and artists are both responsible for the final image in terms of how the subject poses and how the artist composes the shot.

Yokomizo’s images show the curiosity and defensiveness of her subjects in their poses and expressions. The figures look closed-off; fair enough for someone being photographed by a complete stranger!

You can see more of Yokomizo’s work on her personal website. Check back on Fridays for more images of men by women. And feel free to suggest works of art or artists in the comments!

Take a look at our previous Female Gaze Friday: Sylvia Sleigh’s At The Turkish Bath.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

“She Who Tells a Story”: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is currently exhibiting She Who Tells a Story, a show featuring twelve women photographers from Iran and the Arab world. The exhibit runs from August 27, 2013 – January 12, 2014 and includes work by Jananne Al-Ani, Boushra Almutawakel, Gohar Dashti, Rana El Nemr, Lalla Essaydi, Shadi Ghadirian, Tanya Habjouqa, Rula Halawani, Nermine Hammam, Rania Matar, Shirin Neshat, and Newsha Tavakolian.

Newsha Tavakolian, Dont Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi), 2010. Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum.

Newsha Tavakolian, Dont Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi), 2010. Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum.

The curator of She Who Tells a Story, Kristen Gresh, notes the work is all incredibly diverse, however, the theme of “complexities of identity” runs throughout. Looking at the included photos it’s clear that each photographer is shooting from a different perspective. One might focus on the horrors of war, another on girls coming of age, and another on landscape.

Rania Matar, Alia, Beirut, Lebanon, 2010. Pigment Print.

Rania Matar, Alia, Beirut, Lebanon, 2010. Pigment Print.

Gohar Dashti, Untitled #5, 2008. Chromogenic print.

Gohar Dashti, Untitled #5, 2008. Chromogenic print.

One of the artists, Newsha Tavakolian, says that although She Who Tells a Story can’t directly affect the political climate in Egypt or other parts of the region, this exhibit could help “provide people with the opportunity to see some different perspectives from the region”. By displaying the work of people whose perspective we are not entirely familiar with or who typically don’t have a large platform in the US, we can learn more about others and expand our own perspective. Exhibits dedicated to artists displaying their individual identities and perspectives can help combat misinformation and stereotypes.

If you’re in the Boston area, go to the show! For those of us who aren’t, we can check out more images from the exhibit here or read an article about the artists included here.

What do you think about the work in the show? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, She Who Tells a Story, August 27, 2013 – January 12, 2014

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Women Are Not Seeking Your Validation”

Women Are Not Seeking Your Validation

Check out this Hyperallergic post on artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s project, Stop Telling Women to Smile. Fazlalizadeh’s posters mimic public PSAs and attempt to educate the public on how it feels to be a woman in a public space. Her project addresses the idea that women’s bodies and behaviors are a public commodity, and the idea that it’s ok for men to tell a woman to smile.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project

This is Fazlalizadeh’s project after a few days:

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project after a few days

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project after a few days

Part of Fazlalizadeh’s work is exhibiting the reaction she receives to her pieces. It’s interesting but, unfortunately, unsurprising that they range from telling her to “Relax!”, to sharing unsolicited advice “A cocky woman who blows a guy off isn’t that attractive, no matter how good you look”, to just plain old aggression “ARGUE BOUT THIS DICK– STFU! BE4 I RIP IT DOWN”.

Read the Hyperallergic post here and see more responses to Fazlalizadeh’s posters here.

What do you think about Fazlalizadeh’s work? How is the commentary part of the art?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Women in Art: Shahzia Sikander

Shahzia Sikander is a Pakistani-American artist most well-known for her work with Indo-Persian miniature painting . Sikander creates miniatures in a variety of formats, experimenting with contemporary painting techniques, video, animation, and more.

Shahzia Sikander, SpiNN, 2003, video animation, still shot. Women's hair transform into birds and invade a Mughal court.Shahzia Sikander, SpiNN, 2003, video animation, still shot. Women's hair transform into birds and invade a Mughal court.

Shahzia Sikander, SpiNN, 2003, video animation, still shot. Women’s hair transform into birds and invade a Mughal court.

Sikander’s work brought a resurgence of miniature painting (at the time it was considered old fashioned and too craft-oriented) and lead to its new global status. Sikander breathed new life into miniatures, blending techniques and manipulating cultural imagery to create something new. However, while Sikander is thought of as reinventing miniature painting by many critics, she hesitates to say that. In Sikander’s words, “I think it wasn’t as black and white as that I started adding a kind of a modernist take on it or “reinventing” it, perhaps—which I think is, again, a very strong word.There were people who had been making miniature paintings and there’s a tradition of people making miniatures which are closer to the older themes, but by and large even the work that I have seen of artists before me was thematic. It was not from a personal space. And my interest really was to bring the personal into this space.”

Sikander draws upon multiple miniature styles and is influenced by Mughal, Rajput, Safavid paintings and more. From one tradition she might draw upon Hindu myth, and from another a naturalistic style. Her work cannot be defined by one time period or culture, rather it is composed from many. And to these cultures she adds her own identity. The narratives are related to her life and to living in today’s world.

Shahzia Sikander

Shahzia Sikander

Shahzia Sikander

Shahzia Sikander

Sikander’s work was stylistically similar to the traditional miniature during her time studying at Pakistan’s National College of Arts in Lahore. When she moved to America to obtain her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design her work moved away from being quite so tight and technical, and her work became looser. She’d frequently create a meticulous piece and then cover it with loose, graffiti-like lines. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

In This Case: Highlighting Women Sculptors

In This Case: Highlighting Women Sculptors

My fellow summer intern, Emilie Reed, wrote a great blog post on women sculptors in the American Art Museum’s Luce Center. The Luce Center is an on-site, visible storage facility that contains more than 3000 works from the museum’s permanent collection, quadrupling the number of objects on view! There are a number of incredible women artists in the collection including Louise Nevelson, Bessie Stough Callender, Yuriko Yamaguchi, and more. Click over to learn more about these American women sculptors.

Bessie Stough Callender, Antelope, 1929, black belgian marble, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bessie Stough Callender, Antelope, 1929, black belgian marble, 16″x12″x24″, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Yuriko Yamaguchi, Reach Out #3, 1989, natural, stained and painted wood, 34"x72.5"x 3", Smithsonian American Art Museum

Yuriko Yamaguchi, Reach Out #3, 1989, natural, stained and painted wood, 34″x72.5″x 3″, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Louise Nevelson, Night Leaf, 1969, plexiglas, 12.75"x12.75"x2.25", Smithsonian American Art Museum

Louise Nevelson, Night Leaf, 1969, plexiglas, 12.75″x12.75″x2.25″, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Female Gaze Friday: Sylvia Sleigh’s “At The Turkish Bath”

Representations of the male figure in art are far less common than works depicting women. A long history of straight men dominating the art world has led to many images of winsome women, but fewer of beautiful men (I’ve written on this subject before; if you’d like to read more about the lack of male figures in art check it out here).

Every Female Gaze Friday I will post a woman-created work of art depicting a man—one small act to reverse the male gaze! Not all images will be provocative, many will be nonsexual or even disturbing. Hopefully this will be a way of learning more about women artists (as well as looking at dudes)!

This week’s piece is At the Turkish Bath by feminist painter Sylvia Sleigh:

Sylvia Sleigh, At The Turkish Bath, 1976, oil on canvas, 76"x100"

Sylvia Sleigh, At The Turkish Bath, 1976, oil on canvas, 76″x100″

Notably active in the 1970s, Sleigh created works that reversed artistic tradition by depicting men in poses associated with women (This seems like an excellent moment to link to “What If the Male Avengers Posed Like the Female Ones?“). In fact, this piece references Ingres’s 1862 painting The Turkish Bath:

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Turkish Bath, 1862, oil on wood, 43"x43"

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Turkish Bath, 1862, oil on wood, 43″x43″

At the Turkish Bath is the first Sleigh piece I’d ever seen and is still on view at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art. Sleigh works her husband into the painting as the reclining man.

As a bonus piece for Female Gaze Friday, we have Sleigh’s work Philip Golub Reclining:

Sylvia Sleigh, Philip Golub Reclining, 1971

Sylvia Sleigh, Philip Golub Reclining, 1971

This painting is a gender-reversed version of the Rokeby Venus by Velázquez. It’s also an intriguing example of a work representing a clothed female artist and a nude male model (I’ve written about the trend of clothed male artists and nude female models before).

Check back on Fridays for more images of men by women. And feel free to suggest works of art or artists in the comments!

Take a look at our previous Female Gaze Friday: Sarah Faux’s Man in Bed.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Billfold: A Conversation With an Artist/Nonprofit Worker About Her Money

The Billfold: A Conversation With an Artist/Nonprofit Worker About Her Money

The Billfold (a funny and readable site about money-management) interviewed an artist and nonprofit worker about her finances. They covered everything from student debt and spending habits to studio rent and familial contributions. Margaret, the interviewee, works at a nonprofit to support her career as a sculptor and candidly discusses how she manages money. It’s eye-opening to see how she balances her work and her finances.

As a soon-to-be art graduate I worry about career choices and about money. This addressed so many of my questions and makes it clear that EVERYONE worries about these things. If you’re an aspiring artist or current art student I would recommend this as a must read!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Linda Adele Goodine at Chicago’s Gallery 19

Chicago readers should visit Gallery 19’s exhibit The Construction Of featuring feminist artist Linda Adele Goodine, who works with photography, video, and performance art.

Linda Adele Goodine, Wisdom Tooth, 2010, polyflex photographic print

Linda Adele Goodine, Wisdom Tooth, polyflex photographic print

Linda Adele Goodine, Woolf, polyflex photographic print

Linda Adele Goodine, Woolf, polyflex photographic print

Goodine’s photographs in The Construction Of focus on her liberation from the feminine mystique. She spits teeth and wishbones into a pile resting next to an animal carcass, creating an image in which she ferociously rejects the restricting expectations of her gender. You can see the complete set of images from her Winter Tales series here.

Goodine also creates environmental art, focusing on endangered areas in New Zealand and the Florida Everglades. These series are full of beautiful color and highlight the transitions these spaces are undergoing while showing local wildlife.

Take a look at Gallery 19’s website or read a great review of the show (and see Antonio J. Martinez’s contrasting hyper-masculine photography) over at Newcity Art. The Construction Of runs until September 19th and is located at 1967 1/2 W Montrose Ave. Check it out!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Female Gaze Friday: Sarah Faux’s “Man in Bed”

Representations of the male figure in art are far less common than works depicting women. A long history of straight men dominating the art world has led to many images of winsome women, but fewer of beautiful men (I’ve written on this subject before; if you’d like to read more about the lack of male figures in art check it out here).

Every Female Gaze Friday I will post a woman-created work of art depicting a man—one small act to reverse the male gaze! Not all images will be provocative, many will be nonsexual or even disturbing. Hopefully this will be a way of learning more about women artists (as well as looking at dudes)!

This week’s piece is Man in Bed by contemporary painter Sarah Faux:

Sarah Faux, Man in Bed, 2012, oil and spray paint on canvas, 38 x 42

Sarah Faux, Man in Bed, 2012, oil and spray paint on canvas, 38 x 42

Critics have referred to Faux as a New Casualist (a movement marked by the “studied, passive-aggressive incompleteness to much of the most interesting abstract work that painters are making today.”) and compare her works to those of Jean Dubuffet and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Faux’s paintings are a mix of abstraction and representation; her work is generally figurative but undefined.

Faux is one of the artists at Woman Made Gallery’s Slippery Slope exhibit and her work, Man in Bed, is currently exhibited there. You can see more of Faux’s work on her website.

Check back on Fridays for more images of men by women. And feel free to suggest works of art or artists in the comments!

Take a look at our previous Female Gaze Friday: Nancy Grossman’s Male Figure.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,