International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over 100 years. It has taken on many guises: socialist demonstrations, recognitions of oppressive beauty standards, acknowledgements of women’s battle with patriarchal systems, and toasts to the significant women in our personal lives.
Women’s History Month (designated as March every year since 1987 in the UK, USA, and Australia) is a time to reflect on the contribution of women to contemporary society. Here at Rise Art we’ve created a collection to celebrate a selection of our outstanding female printers, painters, sculptors, and photographers.
The figurative works in the collection have been curated to celebrate an international sisterhood of women who are unafraid to take up space, reclaim their own form, and find power in their different lived experience.
Juliet Piper’s ‘And Then He Said’ recollects a girlish joy of school-romance gossip. The giggly excitement of the young girls as captured in the photograph’s title is reflected in their idyllic surroundings: the brilliant blue sky and green of the sand-dune grass and the inferred heat of the air around the sunbathing girls give this work a palpable sense of nostalgia for lost girlhood.
Words of Wisdom by Leila Fanner conjures images of woman as mystical; otherworldly femininity which inextricably ties women to the world of spirits, magic, and Mother Nature. Raised in a household of women, Fanner’s works present an “unapologetically feminine perspective” incorporating African visual references.
Olivera Parlic’s Vakuum is brazen in its use of yonic imagery. Sophie Iremonger’s Pelvis Memories 2 presents us with a heady, dreamlike landscape in which the human skeleton is shed amongst a flora-phallic meadow. The shape of the woman is unclear, and this collection hopes to reiterate the irrelevance of physical form when it comes to womanhood. Ladies of the Planet represents visually this fluidity of the female form.
The abstract works in the collection are a testament to women’s creative energy and aggressive passions. Fu's Beethoven’s Choral No.12272018, and Al Oumami's Le Passion II both demonstrate an artistic wildness long denied to pre-20th Century women artists who (when actually allowed to have a creative practice) were expected to show conventional, refined tastes and to use non-energetic (deemed masculine) methods.
Celebrated women artists are often difficult to find in the canon of Art History. We must all play our part in ensuring that this will not be true for the story of contemporary art.