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GROUNDBREAKING FEMALE ARTISTS TO INSPIRE YOU THIS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

<em>Courtesy of Guerilla Girls National Gallery Singapore Lorna Simpson Studio Alexander Gray Associates Fuyuko Matsui and Mary Beth Edelson via MoMA<em>

The contributions of female artists are often left out of the canon of art history. Female artists have historically had their achievements overlooked and, in some cases, even attributed to men. Artists and activists alike are working to amend the art world’s erasure of women by giving female artists of the past and present the acclaim they deserve. This Women’s History Month, The Untitled Magazine continues celebrating women and their contributions to the art world with this round-up of groundbreaking female artists. Be sure to check out our International Women’s Day feature and The Untitled Space’s We Are Women Art Collection for more appreciation of female-led art.

Georgette Chen 

Georgette Chen Li Yang (1906-1993), born Chang Li Yang, was a revolutionary oil painter who pioneered visual arts in Singapore and helped create the Nanyang art style. Chen’s style was similar to the post-impressionists of Europe. She often used vibrant colors and imprecise, unblended strokes to capture life around her. Knowing the limitations of art as a representation of the real world, she sought instead to paint exactly as she saw. Her artwork depicts a vivid and kinetic world that is felt as much as it is seen.

Chen is known not only for her artwork but also for her role as an educator and mentor. She was the first woman to teach at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and has had a lasting impact on the art world in Singapore. In 2014, she was inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to arts and women’s organizations.

Mary Beth Edelson 

 

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Mary Beth Edelson is a first-generation feminist artist who engaged with many different mediums, themes, and social causes throughout her career. Her most famous works challenged gender norms, explored the collective “woman’s ego,” and subverted historical scenes. Her art was greatly inspired by ancient goddesses and how women were depicted in popular culture. As a passionate activist, Edelson was an active member of the feminist and civil rights movements. She championed women’s art by joining the Artists in Residence (A.I.R) Gallery and founding Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics to promote artwork made by women.

Teresa Burga 

 

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Teresa Burga (1935-2021) was an experimental and conceptual multimedia artist who addressed social issues and political corruption with highly researched installations. Whether tackling state violence or the life of an average woman, her artwork was often accompanied by scrupulous research and analytic data. Visually her style was greatly influenced by Pop, Minimalist, and Op Art. She formed part of the Arte Nuevo group, which brought a revolutionary wave of new art styles to Peru. Though Burga passed away just over a month ago at the age of 86, her memory will live on in the impact she has had on the Latin American art world.

Guerilla Girls

 

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Guerilla Girls are a group of feminist artists who use humor and outrageous visuals to highlight gender and racial inequality in the world of art and culture. They are an anonymous group whose works can be identified by their gorilla masks, bold visual style, and unflinching declarations of truth. The group began in 1985, creating iconic posters that they displayed around New York City. Since then they have continued their activism by creating revolutionary art, publishing books, giving lectures, and even demonstrating at art openings while wearing gorilla masks. Today their activism spreads past the art world and critiques social and political issues as well. Their works have graduated from being displayed on New York park benches to having museum exhibitions in over 20 countries.

Lorna Simpson

 

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Lorna Simpson is a photographer and multimedia artist who explores questions of identity through collage, photo-text installations, and film. Simpson’s work often focuses on the intersection of identities – particularly the exploration of the Black-female identity. Her most famous works are her photo-text installations that combine her skilled photography with disembodied words, creating poetically ambiguous, conceptual images.

Simpson’s work has been featured in various prominent galleries from the Museum of Modern Art with her Projects 23 exhibition, to the Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Simpson’s works challenge the narrow conventions of sex and race while also exploring themes of memory, history, and representation.

Fuyuko Matsui

 

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Fuyuko Matsui is a contemporary Nihonga painter who uses psychoanalysis to explore violence, loss, repression, and trauma. Her work is macabre but elegant with muted colors and delicate details. Whether depicting a peaceful corpse or a violent scene, the images are as haunting as they are beautiful. Matsui’s works have been featured in exhibitions from Japan to the United Kingdom, with new exhibitions opening later in 2021.

Genesis Tramaine 

 

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Genesis Tramaine is a contemporary Urban Expressionist painter who seeks to capture the soul of her subject through exaggerated and spirited depictions of the American Black Face. Her faces are abstract, boldly colored, and larger than life. Inspired by New York graffiti and gospel hymns, Tramaine’s work is intensely layered with emotion, metaphor, and experience. Her work has been on display in Shanghai, London, Paris, and Brussels.

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