In honour of International Women’s Day this year, we bring you a visual selection of women artists that have appeared on Daily Art Fixx over the last seven years. Enjoy! Click on an image to open the gallery.
1. Postminimalism is an art term coined by Robert Pincus-Witten in 1971 and is used to describe artistic fields which are influenced by, or attempts to develop and go beyond, the aesthetic of minimalism (a style that uses pared-down design elements). In visual art, postminimalism art uses minimalism either as an aesthetic or conceptual reference point. More an artistic tendency than a particular movement, postminimalist artworks are typically created with everyday objects, using simple materials, and sometimes take on a formalist aesthetic (emphasizing compositional elements such as color, line, shape, texture, and other perceptual aspects rather than iconography or historical and social context). Noted post-minimal artists include Eva Hesse and Richard Serra. Contemporary metal artist Richard Sturgeon uses the everyday materials of steel and rock to play with the concepts of balance and tension. Wikipedia
2. Louise Bourgeois Sunday Salons: Louise Bourgeois moved from Paris to New York in 1938 after marrying art historian Robert Goldwater. In 1962, the couple moved to a brownstone Chelsea apartment at 347 West 20th Street, where Louise lived for the rest of her life. Beginning in the 1970s, Bourgeois hosted Sunday salons at home where, for the next thirty years, students and young artists would come and talk about their work. Entry was open to all, with Bourgeois’ number publicly listed. Bourgeois held these salons, which she dryly referred to as “Sunday, bloody Sunday”, on a weekly basis until her death in 2010, at the age of 98. AnOther Mag
3. The Brighton Cats: LOLCAT photography is nothing new. During the 1870s, Brighton photographer Harry Pointer (1822-1889) became well known for a series of carte-de-visite photographs which featured his pet cats. Pointer began by taking conventional photographs of cats resting, drinking milk or sleeping in a basket, but from around 1870 he specialised in photographing cats in a variety of poses, placing them in settings that would create a humorous image. Pointer often arranged his cats in unusual poses that mimicked human activities – a cat riding a tricycle, cats roller-skating and even a cat taking a photograph with a camera. He soon realised that even a relatively straight-forward cat photograph could be turned into an amusing or appealing image by adding a written caption and he began selling the photos. Purchasers sent the small cartes-de-visite as tiny greetings cards and the popularity of Pointer’s distinctive cat photographs increased. By 1872, Pointer had created over one hundred captioned images of cats that were collectively known as “The Brighton Cats”. Photo History Sussex
4. Papier Collé: Georges Braque’s Fruit Dish and Glass is the most famous and possibly the first Cubist papier collé, a collage made of pasted papers. In the summer of 1912, Braque and Picasso were working in Sorgues in the south of France. Braque later recalled that one day, while wandering around the nearby city of Avignon, he noticed a roll of faux bois wallpaper displayed in a shop window. Braque waited until Picasso departed for Paris before incorporating pieces of the mechanically printed, fake wood grain paper into a series of charcoal drawings. These fragments from the real world add significant meaning to the fictive world of the picture: they can be interpreted as the front drawer of the table (onto which Braque drew a circular knob), the floor, or the wall of the bar. This collage marked a turning point in Cubism. Braque later said “After having made the papier collé, I felt a great shock and it was an even greater shock to Picasso when I showed it to him.” Met Museum
5. Aerial Perspective or atmospheric perspective refers to the effect the atmosphere has on the appearance of an object as it is viewed from a distance. As the distance between an object and a viewer increases, the contrast between the object and its background decreases, and the contrast of any markings or details within the object also decreases. The colours of the object also become less saturated and shift towards the background color, which is usually blue, but under some conditions may be some other color (for example, at sunrise or sunset distant colors may shift towards red). Aerial perspective was used in paintings from the Netherlands in the 15th Century, and explanations of its effects were written about by polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci who used aerial perspective in many of his paintings including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Atmospheric perspective was used in Pompeian Second Style paintings, one of the Pompeian Styles, dating as early as 30 BCE. Wikipedia
1. Mary Beale (1633 – 1699) – Portrait painter Mary Beale is considered to be the first professional female painter in England. Born on March 26, 1633, in Barrow, Suffolk, Beale was the daughter of Puritan rector and amateur painter John Cradock. Her mother, Dorothy, died when she was ten. Mary became acquainted with local artists, including Nathaniel Thach, Matthew Snelling, Robert Walker and Peter Lely through her father who was a member of the Painter-Stainers’ Company. In 1652 she married Charles Beale, a cloth merchant (and amateur painter) from London.
Beale was prolific and reached the height of her success in 1677, completing over 80 commissions that year. She also took in students, many of them women. Beale supported her family through her work as an artist, and her husband Charles acted as her studio assistant, preparing her canvases and paints, purchasing supplies and managing her accounts. He wrote notebooks about his wife’s daily activities. Beale’s clientele included her immediate circle of friends, nobility, landed gentry, and clergymen.
Mary Beale died in 1699 in London, and was buried at St. James’s, Piccadilly. Her husband died in 1705. Mary and Charles had three children – Bartholomew who died young, a second son, also called Bartholomew, painted portraits before taking up medicine. A third son, named Charles was also a painter. (Tate, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Wikipedia)
2. Eva Hesse (1936 – 1970) – Born on January 11, 1936, Eva Hesse was a Jewish German-born American sculptor, known for work in the postminimal art movement of the 1960s. Hesse attended the School of Industrial Art, then Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1952, and Cooper Union from 1954 to 1957. In 1959, she received her B.F.A. from Yale and returned to New York, where she worked as a textile designer.
Hesse’s practice as an expressionist painter led her to experiment with industrial and every-day materials including rope, string, wire, rubber, and fiberglass. “Hesse explored by way of the simplest materials how to suggest a wide range of organic associations, psychological moods, and what might be called proto-feminist, sexual innuendo.” She started to gain recognition by the late 1960s, with solo shows at the Fischbach Gallery, New York, and inclusion in major group exhibitions. Her large piece Expanded Expansion showed at the Whitney Museum in the 1969 exhibit “Anti-Illusion: Process/Materials”.
From 1968 to 1970, Hesse taught at the School of Visual Arts, New York. In 1969, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and after three operations within a year, she died May 29, 1970. Since her death, there have been dozens of major posthumous exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including at The Guggenheim Museum (1972), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2002), The Drawing Center in New York (2006) and the Jewish Museum of New York (2006), and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona (2010). In May 2015, a documentary on Eva Hesse, directed by Marcie Begleiter premiered at the Whitney Museum of American Art. (Guggenheim, Wikipedia, The Art Story)
3. Marina Abramović (born November 30, 1946) – Marina Abramović is a Serbian performance artist based in New York. Her work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Active for over thirty years, Abramović has been described as the “grandmother of performance art.”
Abramović studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade from 1965 to 1970. She completed her post-graduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, SR Croatia in 1972. From 1973 to 1975, she taught at the Academy of Fine Arts at Novi Sad. “The body has always been both her subject and medium. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. Abramovic’s concern is with creating works that ritualize the simple actions of everyday life like lying, sitting, dreaming, and thinking; in effect the manifestation of a unique mental state.”
Abramovic has presented her work with performances, sound, photography, video, sculpture, and ‘transitory objects for human and non human use’ in solo exhibitions at major institutions in the U.S. and Europe. She has taught and lectured extensively in Europe and America and is the recipient of numerous awards including Golden Lion, XLVII Venice Biennale, 1997, Honorary Doctorate of Arts, University of Plymouth UK, 2009, Cultural Leadership Award, American Federation of Arts, 2011, Lifetime Achievement Awards, Podgorica, Montenegro, 2012, among others. (Wikipedia, Marinafilm.com)
4. Sofonisba Anguissola (1532 – 1625) – Born into a minor aristocratic family in Cremona, Italy, Sofonisba Anguissola became one of the most successful female painters in the Renaissance, and was renowned for her portraits. She was the first woman artist to achieve international renown, and was recognized by Vasari, Michelangelo and Van Dyck during a period in history when women did not typically achieve recognition as artists.
Anguissola studied with Bernardino Campi, a respected portrait and religious painter of the Lombard school. Anguissola then continued her studies with painter Bernardino Gatti (known as Il Sojaro). Anguissola’s apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art. As a woman at the time, Anguissola was not permitted to study anatomy or drawing from life from nude models and therefore focused her attention on portraiture.
In 1560, she was appointed painter to the Queen of Spain, Isabel de Valois, Philip II’s third wife. Over her long residence, she taught the young queen drawing and made numerous portraits of the royal family and members of the court. In 1571, Anguissola entered an arranged marriage to Sicilian nobleman, Fabrizio Moncada Pignatelli, chosen for her by the Spanish court. She lived with him in Palermo until his death in 1579 and received a royal pension that enabled her to continue working and tutoring would-be painters. Her private fortune also supported her family and brother. In 1580, she married merchant captain Orazio Lomellini and lived in Genoa until 1620. In her later years, Anguissola became a wealthy patron of the arts. She died in 1625 at age 93 in Palermo.
Anguissola is significant to feminist art historians. Her great success opened the way for larger numbers of women to pursue serious careers as artists. Some of her more well-known successors include Lavinia Fontana, Barbara Longhi, Fede Galizia and Artemisia Gentileschi. (ArtUK.org, Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Wikipedia)
5. Diane Arbus (1923 – 1971) – Born on March 14, 1923, in New York City, Diane Arbus (nee Nemerov) was an American photographer noted for her images of marginalised people—dwarfs, giants, transgender, circus performers and others who might be perceived as ugly or surreal. Arbus was artistic in her youth, creating paintings and drawings. In 1941, she married actor and photographer Allan Arbus who encouraged her artistic pursuits and taught her photography. The couple worked together successfully in advertising and fashion with photographs appearing in Vogue Magazine. In 1956, Arbus began to focus on her own photography and studied with photographer Lisette Model.
By the mid-1960s, Arbus had become a well-established photographer, participating in shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. Her raw, unusual images of the people she saw while wandering the streets of New York City were featured in publications such as Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and The Sunday Times Magazine.
Though she thrived professionally, Diane Arbus had personal challenges. Her marriage to Allan Arbus ended in 1969, and she later struggled with depression. She committed suicide in her New York City apartment on July 26, 1971. Her photographs remain the subject of great interest, and her life was the basis of the 2006 film Fur, starring Nicole Kidman. (Wikipedia, Biography.com)
Born on February 5, 1940 in Chur, Switzerland, Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger (HR Giger) was a surrealist painter, sculptor, and set designer. Giger’s fascination with all things surreal and macabre began at a young age and this led to an interest in expressing himself through visual arts. Following high school, Giger studied architecture and industrial design at Zurich’s School of Applied Arts.
In 1966 Giger worked as an interior designer and completed some early paintings. In 1968 he began working full time as an artist and a filmmaker. The following year his first posters were published and he had his first exhibitions outside of Zurich.
“Giger’s most distinctive stylistic innovation is the representation of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected relationship, described as “biomechanical”. His paintings often display fetishistic sexual imagery.”
Meticulously detailed, Giger’s paintings are usually produced in large formats and then reworked. Giger’s popular art book, Necronominicon, caught the eye of director Ridley Scott who was looking for a creature for his soon to be produced film Alien. Giger’s designs for the film earned him an Academy Award in 1980.
Giger began work on The H.R. Giger Museum in the mid 1990s in the fortress structure of the Château St. Germain, a medieval castle in Gruyere, Switzerland. The museum holds Giger’s personal collection of art from around the world, as well as a substantial collection of his own paintings and sculptures.
Aside from the Alien movies, Giger has worked on numerous films including Dune, Poltergeist II, Species, and others. He has worked with recording artists including Blondie, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Korn, and has created signature models for Ibanez Guitars. His work in interior design includes the HRGigerMuseum and the Giger Bars in Switzerland. Giger’s work has been exhibited in galleries around the world.
H.R. Giger, passed away in May 2014 at the age of 74.
Born on January 21, 1955, in York, Pennsylvania, Jeff Koons studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art (BFA 1976), in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Since his emergence in the 1980s Jeff Koons has blended the concerns and methods of Pop, Conceptual, and appropriation art with craft-making and popular culture to create his own unique art iconography, often controversial and always engaging. His work explores contemporary obsessions with sex and desire; race and gender; and celebrity, media, commerce, and fame. A self-proclaimed “idea man,” Koons hires artisans and technicians to make the actual works. For him, the hand of the artist is not the important issue: “Art is really just communication of something and the more archetypal it is, the more communicative it is.””
Koon’s moved to New York in 1977 where he began working at the membership desk of the Museum of Modern Art. He quickly became known for his outrageous hair and clothing, and for his salesmanship. During this time, he created sculptures using inflatable flowers, and rabbits mixed with plastic, plexiglass, and mirrors. In order to finance his “The New” series, Koons left MoMA in 1980 to sell mutual funds and stocks at First Investors Corporation. This series featured vacuum cleaners and shampoo polishers encased in plexiglass atop fluorescent lights.
In 1985, Koon’s presented his “Equilibrium” series which included sculptures made of basketballs floating in tanks of water, or encased in glass. In 1986, Koons’ 41 inch high stainless steel rabbit gained a great deal of critical attention. His “Luxury and Degradation” series in 1986 depticts “consumerist decadence” and featured images of liquor advertisements and stainless steel renderings of liquor travel bars. In his “Banality” series of 1988, Koons expanded on the “Luxury and Degradation” series producing sculptures including Michael Jackson and Bubbles the monkey, as well as a series of “ads” where Koons mocks himself and his own celebrity. His “Made in Heaven” series in 1990 depicts the artist with his wife, Ilona Staller, in a variety of hard-core pornographic poses.
Since the mid 1990’s, Koons has continued to produce sculpture but has also focused on paintings that contain pop-culture references as well more abstract composition.
Criticism of Koons’ work is varied. “Some view his work as pioneering and of major art-historical importance. Others dismiss his work as kitsch: crass and based on cynical self-merchandising”.
Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Koons’s work has been shown in major galleries and institutions throughout the world. His work is the subject of a major exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (June 27 – October 19, 2014), which traveled to the Centre Pompidou Paris (November 26, 2014 – April 27, 2015) and the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 12 – September 27, 2015). Recent exhibitions in Europe include Jeff Koons in Florence installed at Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy (September 25 – December 28, 2015) and Balloon Venus (Orange), which is currently on view in the rotunda of the Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria (September 30 – March 13, 2016). Gazing Ball Paintings, Koons’s most recent series, was exhibited for the first time at Gagosian Gallery, New York (November 12 – December 23, 2015).
For more information, visit JeffKoons.com. (all images copyright © Jeff Koons)