The All-female art selection promotes gender equality in the arts Artist Lydia Larson in her studio During April we've put together a selection to highlight the careers and achievements of four female international visual artists. Lydia Larson (US), Jenny Nijenhuis (SA), Izabela Leska (PL) and Anna Tihanyi (HU), were selected to showcase their works in painting, photography, sculpture and installation.
According to 2017 reports, 30% of artists represented by commercial galleries are women, and across arts professions women make almost $20,000 less per year than men. Gender disparity in the art world is still an issue, although some figures do indicate an improvement in comparison to previous years. Eyal Zucker: "It's the first selection that we've put together. There wasn't any direct intention to have an all-female lineup, it just naturally formed this way." The selection not only turned out to be all-female, it also includes artists that are addressing through their work the topic of femininity and gender issues in their own surrounding society. Artist Anna Tihanyi is currently developing her new project "A Woman's Chamber" that addresses the female psyche through the staging of 10 women characters, all dealing with common feminine situations and the courage to overcome them. Sculpture by artist Jenny Nijenhuis Jenny Nijenhuis is the artist behind the public installation "SA's Dirty Laundry" that aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of rape in South Africa by hanging 3,600 pairs of used panties on washing lines across the streets of Johannesburg. Artist Lydia Larson says: "It's a breath of fresh air that Artqol have selected artists that just happen to be women and that it's turning into a moment to talk about the gender gap. As I think about gender in the arts, and what it means to be a woman and an artist in the modern world, I think of Virginia Woolf. She notes, "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." I believe this applies to the art world as well. Historically, women painters were anomalies, even rebels--mostly trained by their fathers or other male artists within the family who were willing. While these practices have changed and women artists can go to the university and become known on one level or another, the facts remain that in this field, like others, women earn less and are under represented." Photograph by artist Anna Tihanyi Though 51% of MFA students are women, they later struggle to gain proportional gallery representation. The internet has opened opportunities for artists to reach an audience and build their own presence independently, something that could contribute to the strengthening of gender equality among artists, and as the percentage of influential positions in the art world held by women is gradually increasing, there is a sense that the trend is going in the right direction.
Swedish Artist Emille de Blanche talks about her work and the art scene in Stockholm. Can you share a few words about the city you are living in and how is the local art scene? Emille : Stockholm has been my base for the past ten years and prior to that I have been moving around a lot, not really knowing where to stay. But I’ve come to appreciate this city for its diversity and possibilities, even though it sometimes can feel a bit small with its one million inhabitants. Everybody pretty much knows everybody, and if you haven’t met yet, you are soon about to. As in any other capital city we`re also fighting gentrification and artists are being forced to work under enviable circumstances with insecure demolition contracts. My last studio was wiped out in favor of a parking lot, and pretty much all my artist friends work under the same circumstances. I’d say that the local art scene very much is evolving around the established galleries and their clients, but at the same time that also pushes artists to invent new ways of showing their works, outside the white boxes. How would you describe your work and what are your main influences? Society is my main inspiration. In, out and through. Some subjects linger on and transform into the next project and some just stays for a while. Lately though I’ve been working mainly with themes regarding the public space, who it belongs to and who defines who in it. And also themes connecting to fears in society. It is something that grew out from my last projects and it is something that interests me a lot. So… I guess I’d have to say that the public space is one of my main sources of inspiration. What made you want to become an artist? Art allows me to be free, in my thoughts and in my expression. It allows for grand gestures as well as finding my own way. To not just exist, but to explore. And it helps me to keep my eyes open at all times. Chain#1, 2015, plaster, metal, textile, epoxy, silicone, wood, 1000 x 40 x 160 cm "Lately I’ve been working mainly with themes regarding the public space, who it belongs to and who defines who in it" Are there any artists in particular that you identify with today? Lately I’ve been digging through minimalist literature, always felt a strong bond with the concepts of Robert Morris. Using a lot of industrial materials myself, it is fascinating to read about the creation of a movement and the ideas that splurged out of the wish to break free from the modernist shackles and create something different and fresh. Very inspiring. I’m also looking at a lot of brutalist architecture which I feel is such a gem of inspiration. Tunga is another artist I respect a lot, but for quite other reasons, his ability to create a totally own universe evolving around his own mysticism that somehow make all sense, I think that is a huge artistic accomplishment. Shioban Hapaska works so naturally with materials, and are keeping it subjective in a time where many opt for easiness. Tara Donovan creates pretty insane installations out of ordinary materials. And there’s many more…you know, sometimes it’s just an era or a few works, or the artist personal energy. Hard to specify what it is that grabs you sometimes. Borderland (IV), 2016, Iron, 100 x 100 x 25 cm What are you working on currently or your plans for the near future? It’s quite hectic and incredible times at the moment. This week I’m preparing for the opening of my solo exhibition at Hotorgsterrassen (2nd September to the 14th of September) in the center of Stockholm, it is a citypark that has been closed for 40 years but are now finally being opened to the public again. I’m installing two quite large works and it is somewhat intense with the last minute preparations and making everything work. But I am working with an amazing assistance so I’m sure everything’s going to be grand in the end. After that I am going to St Petersburg, Russia, to be a part of the V Baltic Biennale of Contemporary Art at the New Museum (Novymusem) between 19th of September to the 2nd of October. Something I am incredible excited about. Also going to try to take some time off while in Russia and just explore St Petersburg before coming back to Stockholm and continuing with the research for my new project Shelters. Originally posted on art.works.io
Hungarian artist Patricia Jagicza gives an insider look into her artistic practice and how she views her work. You recently won an open call for the Zucker Art Collection, can you tell us a bit about the piece that was purchased? Patricia: The painting that is now become part of the collection is titled PLAY . I would define it as a still-life, but I tend to look at it as more of a scene that is set up of personal objects. It is about the relationship between two motives: the element of the first motif is an art book about contemporary figurative painting with the word “PEOPLE” written on its spine. The shadow of the book points in the form of an arrow towards an alter ego of mine made out of Lego pieces (this is called Chicken Chick ) the compartment of which is the lid of a water bottle. The relationship, which is the triangle-shaped shadow itself, is the same as the symbol of the play button of various media players – this helped me when choosing a title. The set up was done with a conscious playfulness; however, it was only after the painting was finished that I realized how dominant the shadow actually was. This kind of unpredictability and arbitrariness gives an additional layer of meaning to the picture. This is less the conscious part of the work, which makes it more exciting: it depends more on realization than intentional so that it acquires an improvisational dimension. Play, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 115 x 70 cm, Zucker Art Collection What usually gets you excited about a topic? I find it exciting to figure out how various types of images can culminate in a single still-life. Self-portraits and self-examination are a part of this: I am interested to find out how someone can be represented by the character of the objects surrounding them and how lifeless objects become anthropomorphic. Can you define a person by the objects he/she deems important? I don’t simply want to paint still-lifes; instead, I intend to build a unique world of mine where everything has significance. I find it exciting to incorporate the photograph of an interior into the still-life, to put an album of self-portraits onto a mirror, or to present an image within an image, to paint an already finished painting of mine, for instance. These are all types of compositions, where, in some form, I reinterpret and re-conceptualize these objects and the relationship between and them and also their relationship to me. The full personal nature of these is sometimes extended by the element of unpredictability. There are scenes that venture from one painting to the other, thus establishing a special layer of meaning. I enjoy the play of accumulation and intensification with the least possible tools. This kind of play is also connected to reinterpretation: for example, to paint one of my already finished painting is actually not at all the repainting of that image, but the painting of the canvas in its own space with the image on it. This is why I wouldn’t call it repetition, but rather accumulation or intensification. And by the way, I also love painting pink masking tapes! “I don’t simply want to paint still-lifes; instead, I intend to build a unique world of mine where everything has significance” GO EGO!, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 45 x 55 cm, Private collection What made you want to become an artist? It was never really a question of decision: I always felt deep commitment to art – some kind of an inner call, which by nature cannot be questioned and thus doesn’t need to be explained, at least for me. You could say it was self-evidently present from the very start. What are you passionate about beside your artistic work? It is hard to explain how I view life outside art. Art surrounds you no matter where you go, you only have to be more observant. I really love nurturing plants: it fills me with tranquility and good feeling to clean their environment and watch them grow. Also, whenever I find time, I like sitting down in front of my sewing machine and sew various accessories, bags, cushion clothes, or adjust pieces of clothes. Mirror, mirror..., 2014, Oil on Canvas, 70 x 125 cm What is next on your artist career calendar? I would like to reach a higher level this summer. I will push my own limits, the result of which will be presented in the frameworks of a solo exhibition in Budapest in the beginning of September.