Tag Archives: painting

Female Gaze Friday: Dana Schutz

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 paintings by Dana Schutz:

Dana Schutz, Reclining Nude, 2002, oil on canvas, 48"x66"

Dana Schutz, Reclining Nude, 2002, oil on canvas, 48″x66″

Dana Schutz, Frank in the Desert, 2002, oil on canvas, 183x137cm

Dana Schutz, Frank in the Desert, 2002, oil on canvas, 183x137cm

Dana Schutz, Men's Retreat, oil on canvas, 96"x120"

Dana Schutz, Men’s Retreat, oil on canvas, 96″x120″

Dana Schutz, Face Eater, oil on canvas, 18"x23"

Dana Schutz, Face Eater, oil on canvas, 18″x23″

Dana Schutz is a highly influential contemporary figurative painter. She creates interesting characters and situations; for example, the first two images here (Reclining Nude and Frank in the Desert) depict an imaginary character named Frank. In this scenario, Schutz is the last painter in the world and Frank the last subject. He is trapped on a desert island and painted again and again. The Frank From Observation paintings are interesting, in that he is repeatedly reinvented as a wild man, a fantasy for women, or one of any number of unusual professions. Schutz and Frank react to one another. Even though he is imaginary he is full of personality and understands the situation. Frank may rebel and be sunburnt or even killed in retaliation. The artist doesn’t mourn him though; Frank always comes back to life.

Like the Frank series, Schutz’s Self-Eaters are cyclical. They die and are reborn and they constantly consume themselves. Schutz considered this series to have a looser narrative and these works spin off in a number of directions. Schutz’s work thrives with themes of destruction and dismemberment, especially through her use of bright colors and whimsical humor.

See more of Shutz’s work here and read a great interview with the artist 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 Holly Coulis.

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Female Gaze Friday: Holly Coulis

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 take a look at the paintings of Holly Coulis:

Holly Coulis, Holidays, 2008, oil on canvas, 29"x26"

Holly Coulis, Holidays, 2008, oil on linen, 29″x26″

Holly Coulis, Grouse, 2008, oil on linen, 54"x48"

Holly Coulis, Grouse, 2008, oil on linen, 54″x48″

Holly Coulis, Carnation and Bird, 2013, oil on linen, 40"x32"

Holly Coulis, Carnation and Bird, 2013, oil on linen, 40″x32″

Holly Coulis, Blue Skies, 2008, oil on linen, 36"x30"

Holly Coulis, Blue Skies, 2008, oil on linen, 36″x30″

These paintings are part of Coulis’s Men series. Her images depict an invented cast of average albeit strange men living their lives. Men sit still while birds perch on their shoulders, relax, or enjoy the landscape (sometimes in the nude!) This causes us to create mythologies about who they are.

Because Coulis is a woman, we view her work in the context of a history in which men typically painted women. According to the Cherry and Martin gallery, “As a female artist picturing men, Coulis’ paintings are not political per se; rather they present a shift in the focus from what has come to be an expected relationship.  Coulis uses this investigation to imagine her subject’s inner life, exploring the intersection of masculinity and vulnerability.  In doing so, she engages in a dialogue with such painters as David Hockney, Alice Neel and Sylvia Sleigh, all of whom used portraiture as a way of investigating intimacy, subjecthood and self-identity.”

Coulis’s paintings use bright, bold colors and simple geometric forms. Her work is similar to Alex Katz or David Hockney in depicting still figures and using flattened blocks of color.

See more of Coulis’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 Nina Chanel Abney.

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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.

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Female Gaze Friday: Meghan Howland

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 take a look at the beautiful oil paintings of Meghan Howland:

Meghan Howland, Title Unknown, 2011, oil on canvas

Meghan Howland, Title Unknown, 2011, oil on canvas

Meghan Howland, Title Unknown, 2011, oil on canvas

Meghan Howland, Title Unknown, 2011, oil on canvas

Meghan Howland, Vapors, 2011, oil on canvas

Meghan Howland, Vapors, 2011, oil on canvas

Meghan Howland’s works are full of delicate figures covered in flowers, birds, and pearls. Her work embraces the decorative and the feminine yet casts an almost somber mood over beautiful people and objects. Both women and men are depicted, although so far only those who are young, thin, and white. These paintings are very dreamlike, and leave a lot to the viewer’s imagination.

I would highly recommend looking at the rest of her work here. They are very captivating paintings.

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: Collage by Anya Lsk.

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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.

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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.

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Female Gaze Friday: Sasha Panyuta’s “Bryan”

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 paintings are Brian and Steve by Sasha Panyuta:

Sasha Panyuta, Brian, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 48"x60"

Sasha Panyuta, Brian, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 48″x60″

Sasha Panyuta, Steve, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 48"x60"

Sasha Panyuta, Steve, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 48″x60″

Panyuta is a Russia-born artist who lives and works in New York City. She creates acrylic works that are full of bright, unblended colors with figures against simple backgrounds. Panyuta’s portrait of Brian is interesting, in that it is part of a group of works depicting multimedia artist Brian Kenny. Kenny has a collection of portraits of him from fellow artists (that you can see here).

I first saw Panyuta’s paintings at 100 Artists Book (100 artists of the male figure). You can see Panyuta’s work on her site, and an interview 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: Elise Graham’s Untitled.

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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