Do women, in fact, paint women differently than do men? Good question. I've been thinking about this a lot since I've been involved with the Women Painting Women group. I certainly think that women view women differently than do men, and yes they usually do paint them differently than do men, but they don't always, or at least in a glaringly obvious way. There's no 100% certain way to tell if a painting of a woman was done by a woman, unless of course you know in advance who the artist is, or recognize the work, or whatever. People, and therefore artists, are far too varied to be clumped together, and hooray for that. Someday artists will all be recognized (or not) solely on the basis of our abilities and our vision, and that is what a meritocracy is all about.
Wait! Did I just imply that the art world is a meritocracy? Is it? What is the criteria? Should it be a meritocracy? If it is a meritocracy, who gets to be the judge of merit? If it isn't a meritocracy, then what is it? and what should it be?
But I digress. Personally, I think certain themes and imagery emerge in women's paintings of women more frequently than in paintings done by men. Images of nature - all the varying flora and fauna, often in wild profusion - show up a lot in women artists' paintings. I'm also seeing a lot of emphasis on patterning and fabric, lots of whirling, swirling shapes and repeating design.
Also, the women in these paintings usually (certainly not always, but usually) look like individuals and not generically pretty things. In other words, there are often faces, identifiable faces, treated with empathy and insight. Women artists generally are sympathetic to their women subjects. Again - not always. But very often.
There's been a lot of discussion on the internet (including earlier on my blog) and in art magazines about the show and its concept, and other women painting women shows which are going around this country and a few other countries as well. I'm linking a post by the fierce and smart Lisa Gloria who I have the pleasure of showing with next week at Principle Gallery. Here she writes about art and the intent of the artist.
I'm also linking a post by the wonderful artist Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco, who is more full of life than the three or four people sitting next to you all rolled together - it's an honor to be showing paintings with her:
[Edit - I'm also including a link to the terrificly imaginative and multiple-award-winning artist Terry Strickland who writes about the intent behind her paintings at this link:]