Are Female Abstract Expressionists Finally Getting Their Due?

One of my Resurgent Spring paintings, Bold Faith had been sitting unnoticed on an easel in my studio for a few weeks, then we decided to hang it on a wall in our living room for a while. It was then that I began to really start to appreciate it.

Actually, I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off it and it quickly became one of my favourite pieces. It made me realize that I think I had been not looking favourably on it before, deeming it too bold, too crazy.

But here, I saw it in a different light. It’s depth… it’s power… and it’s impressiveness felt captivating and so alive with its message of living with Bold Faith and just going for it.

Artists are typically a more sensitive breed and prone to judging our muse in a harsh light at times… not always appreciating the voice or energy or expression that insists on being painted.

There are times when I have an idea or impression of what I want to paint, but my body, my soul, and the brush or palette knife have their way – always. They have become the force that moves me and the paint.

It’s an artists job to listen and create from that inner space AND without a worry of who or if anyone will understand or appreciate what comes from that inward journey. An artists job is to believe in oneself.

Recently, a friend (thanks BW!) sent me a link to this article, written by By Alexxa Gotthardt, he thought I would appreciate – it’s linked so you can click on the title to see the full article:

11 Female Abstract Expressionists You Should Know, from Joan Mitchell to Alma Thomas

I have to say that it made quite an impact on me, actually.

Gotthardt writes:

Abstract Expressionism is largely remembered as a movement defined by the paint-slinging, hard-drinking machismo of its poster boys Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

I hadn’t actually thought of this before but it’s true. The article goes on to talk about how the early female abstract expressionist artists were marginalized and to combat this disease some of them resorted to using a male pseudonym to get their art seen.

As I viewed these works I found myself contemplating my experience of believing and accepting in the voice working through me as an abstract expressionist artist.

As you can see these paintings are bold and strong and perhaps not necessarily what would seem to come from a woman, that is, in our conditioned belief of a woman’s energy being soft, beautiful, flowing and feminine.

These artists had the courage to break out of this mold and give voice to their passion and their fury of striking independent feelings.

I salute them. I praise them and I am grateful to them.

While I am (when most healthy and balanced) lived and expressed as a dominant inward, still and reflective person, the works emerging through this energy and essence is strong, potent, powerful, alive, wild and raw.

It’s tapping into something that speaks to life on a microcosmic and macrocosmic scale, and while I began my art career wanting to paint a feminine beauty in the world, this something else took over.

It’s a consuming, healing, and emotional inward journey… to the heart, the soul and the cosmos.

Gotthardt’s article brought to my attention how I sometimes worried whether my art was accepted or judged as too strong.

It is a reminder to not dim our light, be who we are, and #&!* the molds that enslave us to living in fear because we never know we are are liberating in the wake of our courage!

 

“I’ve always painted out of omnipotence.”

~ Joan Mitchell