Tag Archives: Female Artists

Female Gaze Friday: Nina Chanel Abney

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 we’ll be looking at the work of painter Nina Chanel Abney:

Nina Chanel Abney, King of Sorrow, 2010, acrylic on canvas

Nina Chanel Abney, King of Sorrow, 2010, acrylic on canvas

Nina Chanel Abney, The Boardroom, acrylic on canvas, diptych, 77"x153.5" (overall)

Nina Chanel Abney, The Boardroom, acrylic on canvas, diptych, 77″x153.5″ (overall)

Nina Chanel Abney, Untitled, 2012, acrylic on canvas

Nina Chanel Abney, Untitled, 2012, acrylic on canvas

Figures in Abney’s paintings are often ambiguous in terms of gender and race. While they at first appear to be male with emphasized mustaches and jock straps that leave little to the imagination, you’ll notice that many have highlighted breasts or other feminine features.

Her works often feature colorful, distorted celebrities in surprising situations (or political figures who are treated as celebrities). Of her subject matter Abney says, “I’m fascinated by how celebrity news has become not more interesting, but more important than politics. I like to infuse that with race issues.” There are strong narratives throughout her paintings, but they’re disjointed. It’s usually difficult to understand what exactly is going on.

Abney’s figurative work is personally very inspiring. The way she creates abstracted stories that make the viewer think harder about what they’re seeing appeals to me, and the themes of gender, race, and celebrity are highly relevant to the world today.

You can take a look at more of Abney’s work here.

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: Paintings by Meghan Howland.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Female Gaze Friday: Jen Mann

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 works are Cotton Candy and Sway by Jen Mann:

Jen Mann, Cotton Candy, 2013, oil on canvas, 48"x46"

Jen Mann, Cotton Candy, 2013, oil on canvas, 48″x46″

Jen Mann, Sway, 2013, oil on canvas, 50"x50"

Jen Mann, Sway, 2013, oil on canvas, 50″x50″

I first saw Mann’s work on tumblr, where her brightly colored, bubblegum-like portraits are incredibly popular. Her paintings are beautiful, with an intriguing use of monotone figures against contrasting backgrounds. She limits herself to simply composed portraits with very clean, crisp lines and naturalistically rendered features. These portraits are from her Strange Beauties series and are inspired by the circus, the innocence of childhood, and dreams.

You can see more of Jen Mann’s work here or take a look at her somewhat different Fera series here.

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: Amy Sherald’s The Rabbit in the HatPony Boy, and High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain’t No Cotton Pickin’ Negroes.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Female Gaze Friday: Amy Sherald

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 works are The Rabbit in the Hat, Pony Boy, and High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain’t No Cotton Pickin’ Negroes by painter Amy Sherald:

Amy Sherald, The Rabbit in the Hat, 2009, oil on canvas, 54"x43"

Amy Sherald, The Rabbit in the Hat, 2009, oil on canvas, 54″x43″

Amy Sherald, Pony Boy, 2008, oil on canvas, 54"x43"

Amy Sherald, Pony Boy, 2008, oil on canvas, 54″x43″

Amy Sherald, High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain't No Cotton Pickin' Negroes, 2011, oil on canvas, 59"x69"

Amy Sherald, High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain’t No Cotton Pickin’ Negroes, 2011, oil on canvas, 59″x69″

Amy Sherald’s paints portraits of black men and women in which she removes all color from their skin. In Sherald’s words,  her work “began as an exploration to exclude the idea of color as race from my paintings by removing “color” but still portraying racialised bodies as objects to be viewed through portraiture”. Her figures started out with fairytale-like details which constructed an alternate version of black history. From there, her work evolved to place black figures in environments like circuses, which more directly called out themes of blackness and racialisation.

Sherald’s work focuses on self-identity and constructed identities. She draws from her own experiences as one of the few black children in her private schools and how her identity was formed by those experiences.

I saw one of Sherald’s paintings at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and was struck by the sparing use of color and the flatness of certain portions of her paintings. If you ever have the chance to see her work, go! Her paintings are even more striking in person.

You can see more of Amy Sherald’s work here.

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: Sasha Panyuta’s Bryan.

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

Female Gaze Friday: Nancy Grossman’s “Male Figure”

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 image is Male Figure by Nancy Grossman:

Nancy Grossman, Male Figure, 1971, wood, leather, and metal, 68 inches high, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, gift of Joseph H. Hazen, New York, to the American Friends of the Israel Museum

Nancy Grossman, Male Figure, 1971, wood, leather, and metal, 68 inches high, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, gift of Joseph H. Hazen, New York, to the American Friends of the Israel Museum

Grossman is well-known for her 1960s sculptures of heads covered with bondage gear. Although her figures present as male, at times she refers to them as self portraits which lends an interesting twist to the gendering of her work. You can learn more about Grossman and see more of her art here.

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

Check out our previous Female Gaze Friday: Isabel Rocamora

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Female Gaze Friday: Isabel Rocamora’s “Body of War”

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).

Because of this, I’d like to introduce Female Gaze Friday! Every 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)!

Kicking off Female Gaze Friday is Body of War by Isabel Rocamora. I was lucky enough to see her work during my time in Florence at the Palazzo Strozzi as part of an exhibit titled, An Idea of Beauty. Here is a quick clip of Rocamora’s work:

You can see the artist speak about Body of War here. Skip to 2:32 to watch the entire piece—it’s definitely worth it! The graceful movement of the figures make an incredible contrast with the violence of war.

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,