Like other realms of the culture, the visual arts are, at the moment, a male-dominated profession. in spite of the fact that MFA graduates are overwhelmingly women, it’s men who get the crucial solo exhibitions at galleries which can make or break an artist’s career. Lets recognize the work of 7 young female artists who are breaking new ground, these days. Here is a sampling of their work.
Tracey Emin is an English artist whose work is often called “confessional.” Her most famous work includes the above installation of a tent, called Everyone I Have Ever Slept With. (The names of said people are appliquéd on the inside of the tent.) If this sounds like a euphemism for all the people Emin has, well, had sex with, it isn’t, quite: her grandma’s name is on there, for example. The original tent was destroyed in a warehouse fire, in 2004; she’s never recreated it.
Catherine Opie’s work famed for its treatment of identity, and queer identities in particular. She made her name with portraits of the queer and trangender people she knows in Los Angeles. “Few artists of her generation,” the New York Times wrote of her 2008 retrospective at the Guggenheim,”have as consistently and brilliantly shown queerness to be the capacious category that it is.”
Julie Mehretu, who hails from Ethiopia, often sees her work called “architectural.” One reason for that is the way her paintings contain layers, and specifically often recall blueprints. “I don’t think of architectural language as just a metaphor about space, but about spaces of power, about ideas of power,”
Kara Walker’s silhouette panoramas tell stories of the cruelties and excesses of racism. Her work is disarmingly pretty to look at; it’s when you scrutinize the story that the images are showing that you come to see the darkness of them. Her theme is race. As the New York Timesonce put it, “It dominates everything, yet within it Ms. Walker finds a chaos of contradictory ideas and emotions. She is single-minded in seeing racism as a reality, but of many minds about exactly how that reality plays out in the present and the past. For her the reliable old dualities — white versus black , strong versus weak, victim versus predator — are volatile and shifting.
Katarzyna Kozyra is a Polish video artist whose work has caused considerable controversy in her home country. She has been known to film horses at the moment of their death, for example, never a way to endear yourself to PETA sympathizers. She has also snuck into male bath houses, disguised as a man herself, and filmed the ablutions performed therein. The above video, The Rite of Spring, uses time-lapse photography and elderly naked bodies to recreate the famous ballet of the same name.