Women in Art
I’ve been doing tons of research on art lately and it is BLOWING MY MIND! There is so much incredible art out there, it’s like where has all this insanely good work been hiding all my life? I started my research just pouring over vintage comics, but then I watched a couple of great art documentaries on tv. One of them was about this fabulous artist who lost most of his work in Poland in World War 2, the documentary showed how he himself was like this beautiful work of art. My favorite line from the whole documentary was when the artist said “you have to exaggerate to make great art”! Just that one snippet has me wondering, “Do I go far enough with my art?”
Then I watched a documentary on Contemporary Art. It kind of left a sour taste in my mouth, it was all about art collectors in Manhattan and the art that brings in the most bucks. Sadly much of it isn’t even that great of art, it is more about some sort of wall street calculation as to what will sell for the most money. I mean people spend a lot on art that is going to increase in value over time, and then sell it when it reaches top dollar. Art in that way becomes like a commodity. My husband and I were chatting about the documentary and he noted that one thing that was a focus is that the art that gets preserved over time has to have some sort of value to be held onto…like you keep your most prized possessions and discard the rest. The same is true of art in general, that on a global scale the artwork that is kept throughout the passage of time has some sort of perceived value.
I’ve been researching Contemporary Art and Women in Art, and it’s a sad fact that of the top contemporary artists that are esteemed today, very few of them are women. It makes me scratch my head wondering why women’s art is not more highly prized? Is the art market really so sexist that the first criteria for art to be popular is that it must be made by a man? I love art from all genders, nationalities and creeds. There is a difference between masculine and feminine art, but obviously there is a lot of overlap too. Men and women are raised with different gender roles, and there are a lot of biases even when discovering who made a work of art. You suddenly want to know more about the artist and what happened in their life to influence the work they are most known for. As a woman myself, perhaps I am somewhat biased. Of course I love to see art masters of both sexes shaking their paintbrushes at the canvas…but something within makes me root for the women who are trailblazing, trying to take a road less traveled by.
Women have been fighting in so many areas for equal rights over the years, and have slowly come out of the fight on top. But lately I see those rights teetering on the brink, even as more and more women get into office and take over top roles across the States and abroad. The thing is that feminism has come so far, and women are really having their day! A lot of art created by women is belittled like it is just an extension of women’s work. Of course women have been makers since the dawn of time…making meals and making clothing and textiles, making candles and other arts and crafts. As an artist and crafter, I see the lines blur between the two until there is no segregation between women’s work and living a creative life.
I would love to see more and more women artists receiving top accolades for their work. That is my hope anyway, and I will continue my research to find heroes that I can relate with as a woman making things with my hands, as women have always done long into the vast and distant past of humanity.