Women artists have suffered from a lack of recognition in the Western World for centuries. There were several reasons for this. Until relatively recently, the training available for women forbad the study of “the nude” – a staple of much public and private art, at the time. There was also a feeling that it was OK for a woman to paint as a hobby, but “leave the matter of earning a living from art” to the men. The net result….in Westminster and the City of London; of 386 public works of art, only 30 were created by women.
The National Gallery in London contains more than 2,300 works. At the start of 2011 only 11 of the artists in that enormous collection were women.
Little has changed. A recent survey of artists found that more than 8 out of 10 of those in Tate Modern were men, and men were 7 out of 10 of those in the Saatchi Gallery. Given that women make up the majority of art students, the fact that they account for just fewer than one in three of the artists exhibited in commercial London galleries might not seem much cause for celebration. But in the context of art history, it does suggest a step forward.
So it is, that among the artists selling from this online gallery - from which the exhibitors in Malvern Theatre are chosen….the majority of the 20 top-sellers are female and of those, the 4 artists commanding the highest prices for their works are all women.
This makes the selection of these 3 world-renowned female professional artists, for this Malvern show, an obvious one.
Arabella Kiszely is a Cotswold-based artist, specialising in semi-abstract landscapes. Painted mainly in oils, her pictures are characterised by a confident, contemporary style, full of colour and form. The result is a painting where you can feel as well as see, the forces of nature.
Louisa J Simpson loves painting strong patterns and shapes in her still-life works. This enables her to combine a traditional style with abstract qualities. She has a particular interest in painting glass and mirrored surfaces that show an unusual perspective; allowing her to create compositions that fill the canvas with colour and light.
Alison Johnson’s atmospheric oil paintings are vibrant and seductive focal points for any space. By expressing the power of light playing amongst the elements, she shows the abstract, surreal side to the natural world. Her seascapes follow a deep tradition which Johnson modernises and brings to a contemporary conclusion. Colours sink below a piercing white surface as oceans and landscapes drift in and out of a sweeping hazy mist.
The works of all 3 are collected by art lovers from across the Globe.
The exhibition is available to view, both upstairs and downstairs, every day from Monday 30 May until Saturday 9th July.