Tag Archives: women artists

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: 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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Female Gaze Friday: Elise Graham’s “Untitled project”

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 “Untitled project” by Elise Graham:

Elise Graham, Untitled project

Elise Graham, Untitled project

I stumbled across Elise Graham on Fuck Yeah Female Artists (My new tumblr addiction. It’s INCREDIBLE). Graham works in a very strict format, with collages limited to few source materials, generally including black and white drawing, and sized 8.5″x11″. These works are framed and hung in grids. Graham refers to her collages as “Rearrangements that manufacture false realities” and enjoys the accessibility of the medium.

You can see more of Graham’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: Shizuka Yokomizo’s Dear Stranger. You may also enjoy this post on the famous collage artist Martha Rosler.

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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.

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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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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

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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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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

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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!

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