Madam & Eve book cover

Paint like a girl! – Art, History and Feminism

As the world marches to the chant of “Girl Power!” and we bear witness to #MeToo, and as here in New Zealand we celebrate 125 years of Suffrage, we are observing a resurgence of feminism and watching as the waves of change filter across our perceptions, society and history. The world of art; ever the medium of visionaries, rebels, leaders and forward thinkers, has a hidden history that is fervently female. In this month’s recent picks, we invite you to open your minds and look at art through the eyes of feminism and equality. From fresh looks at art history, to records of important social movements, from local pioneers such as Elizabeth Lissaman, to looking at how women represent each other through art. Explore this special collection of new books that reflects these times and our changing perceptions.

Madam & Eve : women portraying women / Rideal, Liz
“How do women paint or photograph each other? How do they represent each other in performance or sculpture? Explore the female gaze as it focuses on other women, as an artist and a curator investigate the work of over 200 artists.  The result is an amazing parade of artworks: eye-catching, poignant, powerful, political, idiosyncratic, playful, awkward, passionate, sexy and positive. It is also an eloquent examination of the impact that the feminist movement has had on contemporary art.” (Catalogue)

Art unfolded : a history of art in four colours / Street, Ben
“Trace the history of art through 48 paintings and four colors. Blue: the color of the beyond and the divine. Red: the color of blood, purity and sensuality. Green: the color of new life, but also of sickness and death. Gold: the color of wealth, attributed to the things we value most. These four colors tell the history of art in a way that few other details can and  grant us access to fascinating stories, both of individual works of art and the world in which they were created.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

A mouth is always muzzled : six dissidents, five continents, and the art of resistance / Hopkinson, Natalie
“As people consider how to respond to a resurgence of racist, xenophobic populism, A Mouth Is Always Muzzled tells an extraordinary story of the ways art brings hope in perilous times. Weaving disparate topics from sugar and British colonialism to attacks on free speech and Facebook activism and traveling a jagged path across the Americas, Africa, India, and Europe, Hopkinson, argues that art is where the future is negotiated.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

A big important art book (now with women): profiles of unstoppable female artists–and projects to help you become one /Krysa, Danielle
“Walk into a museum, or open an art book, and you’ll probably be left wondering: where are all the women artists? This book offers an exciting alternative to this male-dominated art world, showcasing the work of contemporary women artists alongside creative prompts that will bring out the artist in anyone.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Ninth Street women : Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler : five painters and the movement that changed modern art / Gabriel, Mary
“Set amid the most turbulent social and political period of modern times, Ninth Street Women is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating chronicle of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting–not as muses but as artists.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Significant others : creativity & intimate partnership
“Biographies of artists and writers have traditionally presented an individual’s lone struggle for self-expression. In this book, critics and historians challenge these assumptions in a series of essays that focus on artist and writer couples who have shared sexual and artistic bonds. Featuring duos such as Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverForms of enchantment : writings on art & artists / Marina Warner.
“Here, Warner captures the visual experience of the work of a diverse group of artists, with a notable focus on the inner lives of women, through an exploration of the range of stories and symbols to which they allude in their work. With illustrations of the works being described, Marina Warner’s writing unites the imagination of artist, writer, and reader, creating a reading experience that parallels the intrinsic pleasure of looking at art.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Reading art : art for book lovers / Trigg, David
“As every book tells a story, every book in art is part of an intriguing, engaging, and relatable image. Books are depicted as indicators of intellect in portraits, as symbols of piety in religious paintings, as subjects in still lifes, and as the raw material for contemporary installations. Reading Art spotlights artworks from museums and collections around the globe, creating a gorgeous, inspiring homage to both the written word and to its pivotal role in the visual world.” (Syndetics Summary)

All too human : Bacon, Freud and a century of painting life
“A new account of one of the most distinctive and fascinating chapters of modern British art: how artists have used painting to record their personal, sensuous and often intense experiences of life. Spanning a century, this history encompasses a diverse but related group of painters, who focused on the depiction of the human figure and the everyday landscape they inhabited. Despite their differences, they all shared a similarly intense and scrutinizing gaze, and remained loyal to their pursuit of intimate and powerful representations of reality.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverElizabeth Lissaman : New Zealand’s Pioneer Studio Potter
“Tracing the life and work of Elizabeth Lissaman OBE (1901-1991), Marlborough-born, Lissaman potted continuously for almost 70 years until 1990, spanning much of New Zealand’s twentieth-century studio pottery movement. This volume is illustrated with over 100 pieces of Lissaman’s pottery, selected from leading private and public collections, such as those from the Marlborough Museum who aim to ensure the legacy of Lissaman and that she may be celebrated as an icon of New Zealand Culture.” (Adapted Back Cover Summary)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *