Attempting to ‘uncover’ a selection of contemporary female artists for this article was an undertaking I severely underestimated. There are a plethora of incredible ladies in a multitude of creative vocations that are producing amazing pieces…So where to start? How to select? This could not simply be ’10 Female Artists You Need To Know About’…because narrowing down the global talent to a list of 10 was surely an impossible task.
Without dimming the light of our male counterparts, this article is simply a response to Linda Nochlin’s essay ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ that was triumphed by Maria Grazia Chiuri in her Dior Spring/Summer 2018 collection recently. With female empowerment making headlines as the cultural landscape shines brighter on women, I simply hope to help illuminate artists of today as we follow in the footsteps of our triumphant predecessors, armed now with both paint brushes and social media platforms. I have gathered a selection of contemporary female painters for this article (with other mediums coming soon), whom I have stumbled across on social media, who are currently making waves and who I admire greatly. From painters emerging from NAS to established artists overseas, here is a list of 13 gals I think you should know about.
Sally Anderson- @sallyleeand
Adhering to a somewhat strict tonal tonal palette of blue and the occasional pink, Anderson focuses on shape to abstract her contemporary take on what at first glance, seems to be landscape painting. The inclusion however of smaller works inside larger paintings works to accentuate her focus of memory and matter. Layering both paint and imagery, the build up of tones, textures and ideas drives home her passion for the preoccupation we have with content consumption in todays society. A gentle echo of the way our brains work, how thoughts flicker, old memories flash, is captured by her gentle brush work and colour scheme.
Antonia Perricone Mrljak- @Antoniaperriconemrljak
Abstract marks on raw linen, fragmented shapes and colorful broken forms are the focus of Mrljak’s pieces. Her works are incredibly expressive, built from a strong tie to her emotions and also her memories as a ‘second generation Sicilian being brought up in Australia’. With an early career in fashion, her feed is still full of stories based upon emotion and visual expression, now just on canvas.
Jess Bush- @onejessa
Also going by the moniker OneJessa, Bush’s work traverses both smaller scale canvases and ginormous murals- a rare feat for such a young artist with works that have such great detail. With a surrealist vibe, Bush’s work deals with the uniquely human attribute of self-consciousness and the impacts this has on the way we relate to our external environment. With her first solo show opening this Wednesday 14 March at m2 gallery in Sydney (4/450 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills) there is no excuse to not snatch up a piece before they sell out.
Vicki Lee- @vickileelee
Unless you’ve given up social media there is a high chance you would have seen the watery wonderland and delectable painted floral works by Vicki Lee and parter Ted O’Donnell. What you may not know however is that Lee has branched out with a new exhibition coming in April. Lee’s works are an electric mix of an overactive subconscious coupled with a vibrant, chaotic yet calculated painting style- all working to reflect humanities inner turmoil coupled with its vivacious beauty. A show not to be missed.
With a bright sunburned palette, Cole’s feminine and some what deconstructed take on our wonderful Australian landscapes are a delight. The ease in which she paints her oils captures the beauty of our outback so graciously, whilst adding her modern twist at the same time. Queen of the desert.
Jay Miriam- @jayymiriam
New York based Jay Miriam, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a BFA, is currently represented Half Gallery in NYC. Her Picasso-esque, cubist forms show a truly raw, modern day vision of female prowess and confidence, in both her representations and bold brushstrokes. Her palette tends to eschew traditional portrait tones, offering an augmented sense of eroticism that is both confronting yet truly contemporary.
Caroline Denevaud- @ideih
Inspired by her thrifty buys, Denevaud pairs the palette of her recently purchased vintage finds with her paintings. Truly a combination of fashion and art, the abstract pieces are a celebration of color and form, just like the garments she chooses. Celebrating this fashion fusion sees her recently design the set for British designer Roksanda Ilincic for her Autumn/ Winter 2018 show entitled ‘Les Traces’. Check it out.
Alexandra Valenti- @valenti_studio
Flat forms made up of fluid blocks of color are strategically pieced together and locked in a unique union that is truly Valenti’s own. Resembling ancient totems or tribal makings, her works are balanced in both form and arrangement. They are at one time organic yet simulatenously structured, as fluid color is controlled by calculated shape and arrangement.
Tanya Merril- @tanya_merrill
Merril’s cartoonish, raw and sometimes unfinished scenes are full of everything from wit and fancy to terror and violence. Somehow however her nouveau-esque line work make these paintings always seem joyful and full of wonder. With a generous dose of color and detail, they are a great addition to your daily scroll.
Lucy Zaroyko- @lucyzaroyko
Life is a constant garden party in Zaroyko’s mind. A contemporary take on traditional landscape painting, her overgrown yet deconstructed garden scenes are modernized with a muted palette and broken picture planes. One to definitely watch.
Judy Millar- @judymillar.jm
Set on vibrant backgrounds of graduated color, Millar’s almost transparent black line work explodes over the canvas erratically and energetically. As the powdered hues of color move like smoke in the background of the canvas, the dark line links the two worlds, making a work of art that is truly immersive and spectacular to view.
Zoe Young- @zoeoliviayoung
Sliced cucumber, wedges of melon, fresh cut flowers, seafood and a bottle of Hendricks gin are all part of Young’s still life repertoire. Her paintings are an absolute delight, as her background in sculpture comes out in full force to highlight her talent at composition and manipulation of the picture plane.
Gabrielle Penfold- @gabriellepenfold
Fresh out of NAS and juggling her time between creative direction and painting, Penfold produces palettes of muted pinks and dusty grays as she illustrates her local coastal landscape and all that it produces. From abstracts bathers to ocean pools, her works are a celebration of women and the community in which we live.