You Want a Piece of Me?: The Future of Art is Female
Many of today's female artists are breaking issues of ageism, sexism, racism, and all the other 'isms' we're forced to contend with in society, down to their simplest parts. And by parts, we mean body parts. Artists are taking the porn out of breasts, bottoms, and vaginas and giving them power, presence, and points of view that are much much bigger than their preferred size 4.
Here are just a few of the artists we've been honored to exhibit at stARTup from the beginning. And given the popular response to the "The Future is Female" art conversation we presented at stARTup LA (to watch, click the video link below!) this year, we don't see these violets shrinking any time soon.
For stARTup SF 2017, Weijue Wang showcased her series of needle sculptural breast pieces. "By repeatedly stabbing and penetrating the soft and fluffy felt of their harmless domesticity I seek to unveil the profound violence and irony in female commoditization and mass-produced beauty in Chinese societies."
On her installations: "Since 2000, plastic surgery has become twenty times more popular across East Asia. These surgeries say a lot about changing societal beauty standards and gender norms. Women are struggling with their facial appearances — reshaping their eyelids and noses to appear more western. Men worry too about their masculinity — wanting to live-up to cultural expectations that require them to act “animalistic,” or be as tough as possible. My work tries to expose the dark sides of these social norms. Overall, my paintings, drawings, and mixed-media interactive sculptures consider how these norms threaten people’s self-esteem and make Asian societies lose their diversity."
Arika von Adler's figurative oil paintings and textile pieces investigate female sexuality, its historical and contemporary suppression, and its subsequent exploitation. Some of the work is pure oil paint, some pure fiber, and occasionally a mixed-media collaboration of the two.
On her work: "I focus on female sexuality in a country where women’s reproductive healthcare is controversial. The incorporation of textile is both an homage to and a subversion of traditional women’s work, but due to its soft and strong duality it is representative of femininity itself. The canvas has long been the domain for men to flex their artistic genius, and by embroidering confrontational female figures into it, the work seeks to decolonize a traditionally gendered space. The textile / embroidery is intended to be emblematic of an unravelling. A personal unravelling, a political unravelling, and a gender unravelling."
As a person who has spent much of her life uncomfortable, Sara Zielinski's latest work reveals an obsession with comfort and discomfort.
Sara on her installation for stARTup: "My work is about human relationships and the things we say and don’t say. Using a variety of media, I prod the motives and feelings that are often left unsaid but can weigh heavily on friendships, romantic relationships, and encounters with strangers. The works, intentionally open for speculation, have a suggestive quality, hinting at the situations from which they arise and calling on the viewer to engage with the subjects. With each new viewer, a new relationship is realized, the one between the viewer and the subjects."
MC is a San Francisco Bay Area artist. Upon graduating she shared a studio with her grandmother, a wood worker. For years they worked in the shared space, MC taking the walls and her grandmother taking the floor.
On her plaster work: "I began experimenting with plaster on canvas near 2007. The plaster barely raised the surface of the canvas. It was decorative and textural, creating motion on the canvas."
On its evolution: "Now divorced, I feel that I'm re-connecting with myself through my art. My work over a decade ago focused on men, and the men that I was seeking. Now my focus is on women. It's a celebration and recognition of a journey not yet complete. Making plaster forms has been an attempt to regain myself and my work while at the same time, shedding old versions of myself. I am emerging, at times, bright and new."
The Future is Female: Women Artists Speak Truth to Power
At stARTup LA 2017 we asked: in this climate of toxic patriarchal masculinity and resistance, how are women artists poised to influence a new, equality-based culture? What are the pressing issues that can be illuminated by examining our current milieu? Subversive practices and visual messaging that shed light on culturally ingrained gender biases to make way for new modes of equal and respectful thinking are, but two strategies shaping the practices of many female artists today.
Videography by Ant Farm Media
Feature by Content Curator Mica England