Continuing our celebration of Women's History Month at Hancock Gallery, we've picked our top five female artists currently shaping art history, paving the path for future trailblazers and informing visual history for generations to come.
Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and filmmaker whose self-portraits critique both gender and identity. Sherman’s most seminal work Untitled Film Stills (1977-1980), plays on female stereotypes whilst examining and distorting femininity as a social construct. From afar, Sherman's works look like seductive images. Yet, in the blend of photography and performance, when the layers are revealed, that first glance becomes a look and then an inspection - revealing a challenge the audience to observe another side of beauty.
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama works within a plethora of mediums including, paint, sculpture, film and installation unified through the use of repetitive dots, pumpkins and mirrors. The artist uses “stereotypical repetition” a philosophy of understanding the universe through art, producing paintings on hallucinations experienced as a child that were, ‘flashes of light, auras, or dense fields of dots.’ Kusama’s early works in New York City influenced Andy Warhol, and were an early precursor to the pop art movement. However, Kusama decided to step away from the spotlight for two decades in the 1970’s despite her initial success due to mental health issues. The artist then went on to gain worldwide notoriety in 1993 when representing Japan in the Venice Biennale. Since then, Kusama has designed for top fashion houses and videos for some of the top contemporary musicians.
Kara Walker is an African American painter, silhouettist, filmmaker, printmaker installation artist and professor. Renowned for her exploration of America's history through the themes of race, stereotypes, gender and identity, her most pivotal works are large scale tableaux of collaged silhouettes amidst black and white pastoral landscapes, filled with brutal and harrowing imagery. Walker illustrates the country’s origins of slavery in the antebellum south, wanting to activate the viewer and get the reaction of not being able to walk away from the history and the storytelling created by Walker.
Marina Abramovic is a Serbian artist known for vanguard performances using her body as both the subject and the vehicle. She uses a medley of performance, sound, video, sculpture and photography in her practice. To investigate its effects, Abramovic puts herself into dangerous and gruelling situations, with audience participation as a frequent element. Throughout the 1970’s, she pushed both physical and mental boundaries to explore themes of spiritual transfiguration, solidifying her status within the art world. The artist's most known piece is The Artist Is Present, where members of the public sat across from Abramovic, looked into her eyes and connected with her. A moving moment within this is when the artists former collaborator and partner sits in the audience seat and the two re-connect. Abramovic has worked in collaboration and in mentorship with artists such as Lady Gaga and Jay-Z over the last ten years, as well as expanding the institute in her name practicing the Abramovic method.
We are celebrating Women in History month throughout March and will be sharing more powerful and prominent females that have influenced the Art world as we know it. Stay up to date on the latest events, exhibitions, and more at Hancock Gallery by subscribing to our newsletter below or follow us.