Archives for category: women artists

 

The kitchen garden on the Eyot, 1946

The kitchen garden on the Eyot, 1942

Born in England to a wealthy family, artist Leonara Carrington (1917–2011) lived most of her life in Mexico and died aged 94 in Mexico City. She was a rebellious girl, expelled from two schools, discouraged from pursuing art by her parents, but finally allowed to attend art school in London.

She became involved in the Surrealist art movement, meeting Max Ernst and moving to France to live with him in 1937. When Ernst was interned as an enemy alien in 1939, Carrington left France for America via Madrid, where she had a spectacular mental breakdown and spent months in an asylum.

Pastoral 1950

Pastoral, 1950

The experience of emotional suffering, painful medical treatment, and forced incarceration profoundly affected her, and despite the trauma of this period, it led Carrington to understand the alchemical potential of the body, an idea that would deeply inform her later work. When she learned that her family had arranged for her to stay in another mental institution in South Africa—presumably for the long term—Carrington hatched an escape plan, enlisting help from a Mexican diplomat she had met through Pablo Picasso. Carrington and the diplomat quickly married in Lisbon, and secured boat passage to Mexico.

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Green Tea, 1942

In Europe, the rise of fascism meant restricted movement and ever-tighter borders, but Mexico flung its doors open to the world. An artistic and intellectual community flourished: European artists like André Breton, Remedios Varo (who became a great friend to Carrington), as well as revolutionaries like Leon Trotsky, encountered Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Carrington’s paintings explore transformation, with a menangerie of animals, humans, and hybrid creatures. She often painted a white horse or a hyena as a symbol of herself in these magical compositions. In her paintings, bodies are unstable, moving between genders, species, life, and death, but her paintings have a dreamy amorphous quality, they are not macabre or dark. They are like strange dreams or fantastic portals to another reality.

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Figuras fantásticas a caballo, 2011

The first artwork I saw of street artist Vexta was the dramatic Orb Rising wall art facing the subway entrance to Flinders Street Station on Degraves Street. I was immediately smitten with the fluoro colours, bold geometric triangular shapes inside a arch, and strategic dripping, which adds a looseness to the composition. It’s stunning!

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Vexta is a self taught artist from Sydney, Australia. She mainly paints geometric shapes, birds, humans and animals. She is very successful and has completed street art commissions all over the world, and lives in New York city and Tulum, Mexico. I’m saving up to buy one of her circular orb prints.

Her website has more information about her work and practice.


I recently finished a commission for my mother. She wanted some small works on paper depicting my Dad’s farm as a gift for him. We took some photos of the farm and a ruined cottage there, and she picked out which photos she liked best.

I decided to use pen and ink (or fineliner) with subdued watercolour, after I did a couple of roughs that she didn’t like. I photographed some of the work in progress and she ok’d them so I did some more. Now they just need framing. I hope my Dad likes them; I think they’ve turned out well.

I did it!

Thanks to everyone who supported by donating to my fundraising campaign, my fellow artists who inspired and helped me, Tracey and Gasworks, and my friends who encouraged me.

I’m excited to announce my first solo exhibition! Colour Bomb! will open on November 20. I think I’m almost ready, but we’ll see how the last 10 days go. I’ve done almost all the paintings and pieces, and I’m framing them at the moment (and working on a special 3D piece).

Here are some samples to whet your appetite…

Colour Bomb! opens on Tuesday 20 November from 6pm at ARB Gallery, Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. I’d love it if you could come and celebrate with me!

If you can’t make opening night, the show runs until December 9. I’ll be sitting the gallery on the weekends of 24/25 November, 1/2 and 8/9 December from 12 until 4pm. Hope to see you there 🙂

p.s. I also have a favour to ask… I’ve set up a crowd funder to help cover the gallery hire and costs of the exhibition. If you’d like to support an emerging artist, go to http://www.pozible.com/project/first-solo-show

I recently spent the weekend at a cottage in Hepburn Springs with a beautiful garden at the edge of the forest. I was especially struck by a bare tree covered by a net which reminded me of a bridal veil.

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Ghost tree, watercolour, 2016

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Thistle, watercolour, 2016

Niki de Saint PhalleBorn at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1930, the painter and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle grew up in New York. At 18 she eloped with writer and childhood friend Harry Matthews, and they had two children together. Niki didn’t fit the domesticated wife mould, and after a nervous breakdown she started painting as therapy. In 1960 Niki left her husband and children to devote herself to her art. She lived with sculptor Jean Tinguely, and became a member of the Paris group of artists the ‘Nouveaux Réalistes’.
shooting_painting
In their group exhibition Niki presented her “shooting” paintings for the first time. She filled polythene bags with paint and enclosed them within plaster on a board backing. She, or spectators, then shot at the painting, releasing the paint in random explosions of colour.
I Shot Against
From 1964 came her monumental goddess sculptures, the Nanas (‘nana’ is French for ‘chick’). The buxom, colorful female figures, inspired by a friend’s pregnancy, and first made of yarn, paper-maché and wire and later made of polyester, represent happy, freed women and harbingers of a new matriarchal age.
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Read the rest of this entry »

Interior in Yellow, oil, 1964

‘My chief interest, I think, has always been colour, but not flat crude colour, it must be colour within colour, it has to shine; light must be in it… The room is in my own home here, and the sunlight did not come in a definite way but the whole room seemed to be full of light, which is what I want to do more than the actual sunlight. I feel that even the shadows are subdued light and they must have light in them as well.’ 

Grace Cossington Smith (1892–1984) was one of the most innovative Australian artists of the twentieth century. An early modernist, her fascination with light and colour and her  interest in what she saw around her developed throughout the many phases of her work, culminating in the luminous interiors she painted in the 1950s and 1960s. Members of her family’s comfortable suburban milieu might have perceived her as a ladylike amateur; her fellow modernist painters, especially Roland Wakelin and Roy de Maistre, who were also students of Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo in Sydney, greatly respected her art. Dattilo-Rubbo was a passionate enthusiast of modernism and post-impressionism, introducing his students to the work of Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh.

Interior with Wardrobe Mirror, oil, 1955I saw her Interior with Wardrobe Mirror, 1955, at the Art Gallery of NSW a couple of years ago and was struck by the vibrant colours and large rectangular flat brushstrokes that gave the work a mosaic quality. The juxaposition of pure colour is absolutely stunning in real life. I admire the way she uses colour fearlessly and the strong brushstrokes that seem to ‘dance’ on the canvas. Read the rest of this entry »

At long last I’ve opened a shop on Etsy, prompted by a lack of cash flow at the moment.

Please take the time to have a look. I’ll be adding more work in the next few days…

The red hat, William Frater, 1937, oil on canvas

The red hat, William Frater, 1937, oil on canvas

This is a portrait of Lina Bryans (1909–2000) by her friend and fellow artist William Frater. Lina Bryans was an important part of the modern movement and a member of literary and artistic circles in Melbourne during the late 1930s and 1940s. Her vibrant paintings are characterised by bold brushwork and the expressive use of colour which is applied directly onto the canvas. In 1937 Bryans began painting portraits of her friends. Her most famous work, The babe is wise, is a portrait of the writer Jean Campbell who had recently published a novel of the same name.  (NGV blurb)

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