To celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day, we take a look at five contemporary female artists working in different styles around the world:
American artist, gallerist and educator Laura Owens emerged from the late 90s Los Angeles art scene. When Owens was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, a condescending teacher suggested that Abstract Expressionism was an exclusively male domain and that women should paint from life.
In 2003 she became the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective at the
Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and in 2015, she was awarded the Robert de Niro, Sr. Prize for her ‘significance and innovation in the field of painting’.
The fearlessness and perhaps some contrarianism she displayed as a RISD student continue to influence her decisions. (For instance, in 2003, she declined to contribute to a Vogue feature on female self-portraits, saying: ‘My work doesn’t really deal with self-representation.’ When pressed, she delivered an indifferent watercolour that Anna Wintour declined.)
Despite the accolades she consistently receives, the market for Owens is relatively patchy and unpredictable, lagging behind her contemporaries, all stylistically consistent and nearly all male. Her works sell less well on the investment-minded secondary market, which favours reliable product lines. However, this doesn’t matter to her devoted collectors who briskly buy her art.
Somaya Critchlow, Petworth Beauty (Abigail), 2020, oil on linen, 20.3 x 15.2 cm
Somaya Critchlow is a recent graduate of London’s Royal Drawing School (2017). Her paintings are dedicated to subverting the centuries-old trope of objectifying the bodies of women of colour without robbing them of their sexuality.
Critchlow developed a hybrid style that combines Renaissance portraiture, nineteen-sixties boudoir kitsch, and her own unique flavour of the empowered female gaze. Earthy hues dominate in her oeuvre, but the scantily clad subjects’ clothing and accessories—wigs in yellow-blond and pink or a turquoise tank dress—provide bursts of colour.
While undoubtedly existing within racial and feminist discourse, Critchlow’s works seem to transcend politics (the artist herself actively queries overly moralistic readings of her works) by offering an aesthetic, current and intriguing reimagining of the woman as a subject matter.Somaya Critchlow participated in various solo shows over the last couple of years, particularly ‘Afternoon’s Darkness’ at Maximillian William gallery in London and ‘Blow-Up’ at Zurich’s Galerie Gregor Staiger.
Katarina Janečková Walshe
Katarina Janečková Walshe, Ocotillo lovers, 2022 acrylic on canvas, framed, 52 x 42 cm
Born in Slovakia and now based between Corpus Christi, Texas and New York City, Katarina Janečková Walshe has become known for her playful works about gender roles. Using Eastern European folkloric colour pallet and the use of allegory, the artist offers a critique of the rigid outlooks on femininity and masculinity and challenges the male gaze through sexual liberation.
Cartoonish bears depict the virility of men while beautiful women in Rococo colours play and pose for the audience, allowing viewers to reflect on their own preconceived notions of gender roles and identity. No stranger to representing dichotomies in her work, Katarina flirts with a fantastical world based on her honest interpretations of the life she has experienced. As a European in America, Janečková Walshe is also fascinated with the eccentricities she has witnessed from American life in Southern Texas, exploring gym culture, American masculinity, and the Southwestern landscape.
The birth of her first child further inspired Katarina to look at the beautiful and surreal moments of day-to-day life and reflect them in her paintings. Janečková Walshe has shown internationally in five countries with a large following around Europe and North America.
Jesse Mockrin, Repetition Cannot Make It Less, 2019, oil on cotton, 66.04 x 137.16 cm (overall)
Jesse Mockrin is an American artist that lives and works in LA. She's known for creating oil paintings that are inspired by Old Masters’ paintings but that are cropped, enlarged and combined in order to reposition the female figure within art history. Her work repurposes scenes of violence and hatred against women to make the subject matter more about the struggle, the pain, and the shame these violent acts inflict. ‘The bodies in my paintings are often vulnerable to anonymous interventions coming from outside the frame,’ she said in a 2020 interview with Document.
She received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego, and has exhibited at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, and San Diego.
Mockrin’s work belongs in multiple collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Rubell Collection, and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Ana Segovia’s flamboyant paintings explore cultural perceptions of cowboy culture, depicting figures from Mexican charros to white ranchers. Segovia received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 and later returned to Mexico City, where she has widely exhibited.
In 2020, Artsy named her one of the top 10 artists shaping the future of the city’s art scene. Segovia’s visual language is influenced by figurative painters such as Dana Schutz and David Hockney.
She creates paintings from film stills, mostly from the Mexican cinema golden era, that investigate the performative aspect of gender and the construction of masculinity in massive audio-visual media. Interested in the way that mass media has mythologized cowboys, Segovia examines the common romanticisation of these archetypes through her own queer gaze. Paying attention to pattern and colour, her pastel-toned visions undermine ingrained machismo and rigid gendered expectations.
Theodore & C. celebrates female creativity and wishes to congratulate all women with this international holiday!