Five female artists I worship
I've had the pleasure to study History of Art the last two years of university and needless to say I've fallen head-over-heels in love. Cultural creation is for me the purest way to sum up the contemporary world. It's no surprise that the artists who have resonated most with me have all the juicey emotion and anguish that women stereotypically exhibit. My choices range from the South African contemporary artist I'm writing my diss on to the classics you know and love. Homework is to head to galleries please! Ps if you're scared of nipples don't scroll down.
1) Frida Kahlo, Mexican (1907-54)
Unfortunately, like most young people, I only knew Frida through her pseudonym the one with the monobrow. Since learning more about her story overcoming a life-threatening car accident at 18 to grappling being married to a tempestuous man I can't help but love her. Two of my favourite paintings by her are The Broken Column (1944) and Me and My Parrots (1941). The first one (featured above) challenges classical depictions of beauty by championing Frida's imperfections and the latter is very sassy. Frida has plenty of politically charged paintings too, but I believe it's her self portraits that will stand the test of time.
2) Barbara Kruger, American (b. 1945)
I've always been a fan of artists who like to screw around with society. Barbara's work does just that by warping stereotypical adverts and adding revolutionary text - think "I shop therefore I am", "Money can buy you love" etc. Nothing in contemporary culture is safe, with some of her latest work labelling Trump a "Loser" of the cover of New York Magazine. Two of my favourite works by her are Your body is a battleground (1989) and You are not your mental disorder (1981). The first one (featured above) refers to second wave feminist rhetoric surrounding the personal is political and reminds us of the stake businesses have in our feeling insufficient. The latter is self-explanatory.
3) Georgia O'Keeffe, American (1887 -1986)
Until writing this piece I didn't realise Georgia nearly made it to 100 - wow. Her paintings are probably the most popular on this list, she's definitely the most financially successful. Holding the record for most expensive painting sold by a female artist at $44,405,000 in 2014. To put that in perspective, last year the most expensive painting by a male artist was sold for $450.3 million (Salvator Mundi, Leonardo da Vinci). Anyway one thing's for sure, Georgia's vibrant art is well-loved around the world and I definitely have a soft spot Gray Line with Black, Blue and Yellow (c.1923) (featured above) - you can guess why.
4) Lady Skollie, South African (b. 1987)
Switching it up, Lady Skollie (or Laura Windvogel) is an artist I'll be impressed if you've heard of. Known for her interplay of post-colonial and feminist issues, she uses fruit and larger-than-life murals to portray the powerful women around her. Throwing out the academic rulebook I love her passion for life and her personality is even bigger than her work. Two of my favourites are Passion Gap: a self portrait of the artist wrestling with her daddy issues (2016) (featured above) and Khoisan Kween Mother (2017). Art that creates an impact is my fave.
5) Tracey Emin, British (b.1963)
I've chosen one of the most controversial for last. I have a real soft spot for Tracey, ever since I connected with her My Bed (1998) (featured above). I feel like a should justify this so let me just say that I think portrayals of mental health and contemporary life are best when they feel relatabley true. Every time my life feels like it's falling apart my bedroom falls apart with me. Since then I've been impressed by her technical ability when life drawing and she continues to re-invent herself without giving a f what other people think of her. True badassery.
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I hope this list has inspired you to do some research of your own into female artists. The best place I've found for contemporary ones are Artsy and Instagram - seek inspiration and give props to these women expression themselves. Let me know if you find any up-and-comers you think I might like, sliding into my Instagram dms is perfect for this.
All my love, Sam