The women in artist Danielle McKinney’s work are often smoking, dressed and lounging on sofas, or lying naked on rugs. There is also New Jersey-based McKinney says each woman “claims a moment of self-reflection.” But as representations of the female form, they are also part of something larger – the movement of women portraying women is “like coming out of the ground from a seed that was planted so long ago.” she says.
One of McKinney’s paintings is now when we see us, exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) in Cape Town. The survey, which includes more than 200 works, was created in response to the recent revival of black figurative painting worldwide, said Chief His Curator and Executive Director of the Museum. Kouou his Kouyou said. The wide-ranging exhibition features works painted by both men and women, but with a powerful sub-narrative that explores how women express themselves today. “There is something ancestral about drawing people…the undeniable human need to see ourselves,” says Kouoh. At the show’s opening gala, in a gold lamé dress, she said the exhibition “sets a shared intention to move away from feelings of deprivation, pain, loss, and struggle, and rush toward the reality of abundance.” Of luxury, of swag, of aesthetics, of joy, of yes, of joy, of desire.”
This theme is highlighted by the hero image of the show by 23-year-old South African artist Zandil Chabalala. Two women lying down Two figures in leopard-print slips and red lipstick are a counterattack to art-historical reclining nudes. “It has this richness and beauty, but a painting like this by a young black Johannesburg painter in a post-apartheid context is downright political,” Kuo says. “Not only does she embody her gender as a woman, but she also embodies blackness in bold, novel, and irreverent ways.” It points to a painting by Wangari Mathenge. “It’s full of claims,” says Kouoh. “And I love it. It’s very empowering.” and bring these paintings of identity back to an often influential online space.
Of course, women painting women is not a new phenomenon. From the late 19th century to her early 20th century, artists such as Suzanne Valadon and Paula Moderson Her Becker were pioneers in subverting the male gaze. Then, from Alice Neel (her retrospective opens at the Barbican next month), she extends to Chantal Joffe and her Jenny Saville. However, the representation of female artists in institutions has lagged behind. Her 2019 survey of major US museums revealed that 12.6% of her artwork in collections was by women. That’s a small percentage, but it’s an improvement over the stats on her 1989 poster produced by art collective Guerrilla Girls. It said, “Do women have to be naked to enter the MET Museum? Fewer than 5% of the artists in the contemporary art section are female, but 85% of the nudes are female.” also included a gorilla masked version of a 19th century reclining nude. Grande Odalisque (1814) by the French painter Jean-Auguste Dominique Inglés.
For New York-based artist Daniel Orchard, the established canon of art history is the departure of gentle, humorous paintings of women drinking wine, chatting on the phone, and soaking in baths. It is often a dot. “I’m interested in continuing what Picasso and Matisse started, but from a more empathetic standpoint,” she says. “I transplant my experience into this art-historical framework. woman in front of the mirror (1912) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: “I don’t think it was intentional, but it seems that the model is trying to adjust the bra. I felt like I was doing it regularly, so I borrowed it.” is even more personal, in a work in progress for a solo exhibition at Perrotin, New York in April, it depicts a woman dreaming that “her shadow is pregnant.” She’s been trying to have children. ”
Orchard’s figurative practice is informed by a life drawing class she took in art school. “I modeled in those classes as well because it was one of the better-paying jobs.” It’s an experience that will influence another of her new paintings. This is a two-part work by a female sculptor, created from a female model. “My approach to nudity continues to shift from painting to painting,” she continues. “Sometimes I see it as a way to exclude viewers. Other times it’s meant to invite viewers.”
At the heart of Christina Quarles’ paintings are depictions of life. “As a cis woman, queer, and self-identifying multiethnic person, I found it radical to be able to use these more classical forms,” she says of the LA artist. Her figure is contorted and contorted, she says, “more limbs than her face,” but the result gives her “a kind of elegant beauty.” .
Another Los Angeles-based artist, Hayv Kahraman’s references to classical painting and sculpture are complicated by her experience as an Iraqi immigrant studying art in Europe. Her women are often eerily distorted, drawn from the films she makes and grouped into ornamental yet unsettling shapes. “They are floating, they have no place, they express my ethos as an immigrant,” she says. “But at the same time, my body is fetishized. It’s an irresistible and dangerous temptation.”[s] Like immigrants and refugees, they are a collection of marginalized bodies living on the fringes of society. ”
Scottish artist Frans-Rhys McGahn paints overlapping figures combined with colors that suggest ‘feelings and rhythms’. Her booth at her recent Armory show in New York, she says, had to do with “being a mother, being a certain age, and being sexual nonetheless.” “A lot of my work is about being in crowds and clubs and remembering to be surrounded by people. It’s about joy, partying, ecstasy and abandonment.” I added another layer to my work on the idealized concept of beauty. This is a recurring theme.
Her Armory Show booth sold out quickly, the Simon Lee Gallery responded to multiple requests from collectors for new and site-specific pieces, and Sotheby’s sold the painting for $60,480 (estimated at $30,000-$40,000+). Sold. Frieze a few weeks later in her London, the Pilar Collias Gallery sold a series of paintings and drawings by Karlaman within hours of the opening of the fair. The term ‘overwhelming demand’ has also been used to describe the market for Orchard paintings. The one she donated for charity at her 2021 Christie’s auction was quoted between $5,000 and $8,000 and sold for $287,500.
Another artist making a splash with collectors is Jenna Gribbon. Her partner, the musician Mackenzie, her portrait of Scott is very popular. A painting exhibited at Paris + par Art Basel in October by gallery consortium LGDR reportedly sold for $100,000, and New York’s Frick Collection exhibited one of his semi-nude portraits of her last year. When I did, it was exhibited next to Hans Holbein.
Back on the walls of Zeitz MOCAA is a small, intimate painting by 29-year-old London-based Somaya Critchlow, depicting a woman in an almost pornographic pose with Renaissance homage. Nearby is the work of her 29-year-old Zimbabwe-born, London-based Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. 28-year-old Londoner Sahara Long. And in 31-year-old Tanzanian self-taught artist Sengi Murengeya’s masterfully crafted paintings, women’s clothing and backgrounds blend into a flat, white, negative space.
Through sensual and compelling paint, all these artists tell complex and individual stories in a way that feels somehow universal. “The person in my painting is not me,” says McKinney. “But I hope they are you.” Long historical norms of female representation are well and truly shaken.
Victoria Woodcock traveled as a guest at Gucci to the opening of When We See Us: A Century of Black Figures in Painting