In honor of women’s month, we are highlighting exceptional women artists represented at the fairs and galleries at this year’s New York Art Week. The Guerrilla Girls have made popular the statistics showing how women are still underrepresented in the arts. Women earn more than half of the MFAs but only 30% of artists represented by commercial galleries are women.
By empowering female perspectives and giving women a more representative voice in defining art, beauty, identity, humanity and all of the things that make up the art world, we grow both as individuals and as a community.
Now is the time. Female empowerment is on the rise.
Feminism has become a hot topic in the US with cultural phenomenon such as Women’s March, #metoo, #hereweare, “nasty women” and feminist T-shirts not to mention the popularity of millennial pink.
According to Twitter, the company has seen a 50% increase in conversation on the platform around women’s equality in the past six months, as compared with the prior six months (based on an analysis of terms including “feminism,” “women’s rights” and “gender equality”).
We kept an eye open to see how this cultural phenomenon was reflected in last weeks New York Art week.
Here are five artists whose work stood out of the crowd in both in terms of merit and defining the feminine identity:
LINA IRIS VIKTOR
Breaking gallery conventions, Mariane Ibrahim’s booth at the Armory Show stood out of the crowd by “re-envisioning the curatorial/fair model from a non-western viewpoint”.
Instead of the traditional white-walled booth, an all black booth enclosed by black lattice housed the new works by the artist Lina Iris Viktor’s Constellation series.
According the gallerist, the installation “explores notions of race, history, ownership and discovery” and it “references marishibya veils and the fishnets of Liberian fisherman”.
In Constellation VII, 2017-2018 (shown) the artist uses pure 24K gold, acrylic and resin on Cotton Rag Paper.
Striking gold patterns reference the riches of material and intellectual resources that have been pillaged over centuries throughout the African continent and evoke what the artist calls the ‘forgotten spiritual quotient’ of the metal.
Lina Iris Viktor is a British Liberian artist based in New York and London.
Kennedy Yanko grew up wearing a hard hat. Her father was an architect and took her around various construction sites as a child. Maybe that’s where she got comfortable being around the male dominated domain of construction guys and heavy metal.
She lives in industrial Bushwick where she learned welding through an apprenticeship at a big iron and steel factory. This changed the way she saw the world and she began creating sculptures.
“I want to immediately disrupt the conversation around metal as being something that’s industrial. It’s actually from nature. It’s made from manganese and calcium. It’s no different than a flower when you look at its atoms.”
Kennedy Yanko’s work was shown as part of The Aesthetics of Matter exhibition at the Volta NY art fair.
Jen Mann is a Toronto based artist, working in large scale hyper-realistic portraiture.
Her colorful paintings look at self, identity and relationships. She’s interested in the narratives we create about ourselves and others both in person and on social media.
“I am always exploring the world around me: how we relate to each other, how we understand each other, and the honesty of relationships, or maybe the dishonesty”
Jen Mann’s paintings Obsession 1 and Obsession 2 were featured at the Duran|Mashaal booth at Volta NY.
JTT gallery featured the work of New York based artist Elaine Cameron-Weir at the Independent Art Fair. She is a Canadian artist primarily known for her “formidable and mildly unsettling” sculptures.
She uses parachute silk, stainless steel and leather in her very elaborately named piece “For what, Why do you live immersing yourself in dreams. Maybe, sometimes late, find the key to yourself, is that in this world, You need something for a reason. Not finding yourself in the century You’ll turn around after three And then the memory will return, What do you need for the Earth angel. I don’t care if you think this are too much it is what I have to offer. Is it torture for you.”
This piece references a sexually charged imagination, torture and bondage by encasing the soft fluid silk behind a cold industrial harness.
Sam Moyer’s fresh new piece “Edgewater Window”, shown at the Sean Kelly booth at the Armory Art Fair, redefines the construct of painting. Her work pulls concepts from painting, sculpture, architecture and installation. According to the gallery, Moyer is interested in “the way architecture functions in tandem with her objects to create dynamic visual experiences”. Her work combines a variety of textures, colors and materials such as repurposed marble, slate, stone and hand painted canvas. Using spatial relationships, the materials are arranged to create a new vocabulary of aesthetics and abstraction.