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Can You Name Five Women Artists?

April 12, 2020

Each March during Women’s History Month, the Foundation is excited to partake in the #5WomenArtists challenge proposed by National Museum of Women in the Arts. This call-to-action encourages every arts enthusiast to recognizing five women artists who have used art to change the world by sharing their names on social media. This year, we could not stop at just five; below are ten more women artists in our collection who have shifted the trajectory of art history.

Perle Fine (1908–88) Perle Fine committed to abstraction throughout her career and emerged with the burgeoning Abstract Expressionism movement. One of the few women artists belonging to “The Club,” an informal group led by other Abstract Expressionist titans Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Fine pushed against a heavily masculine New York School archetype. Despite this, she never achieved the same stature as her male peers. Fine began exhibiting her work in the 1940s and, in 1951, she was one of sixty-one invited artists as part of the 9th St. Show. This proved to be a groundbreaking exhibition showcasing New York School Abstract Expressionism, which became the stepping-out of the post-war American avant-garde.

Perle Fine, Char Brown, circa 1960, oil on canvas. In the collection of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.

Claudia Hart (b. 1955) Claudia Hart emerged as part of the generation of 90s inter-media artists in the “identity art” niche, now updated through the scrim of technology. Her work focuses on issues of the body, perception, and nature collapsing into technology and then back again. Everything is fluid in her work, including gender. She considers it “cyborg-ish,” creating liminal spaces, and is in love with the interface between real and unreal because it is space of contemplation and transformation. Hart is considered a pioneer in virtual imaging, using 3D animation to make media installations and projections and later, as they were invented, other forms of virtual reality, augmented reality, and objects using computer-driven production machines. In her work, she takes a feminist position in a world without women when she began creating art over 20 years ago.

Claudia Hart, The Seasons, 2008-2018, video (color, sound), media player, monitor, and custom frame. © Claudia Hart, in the collection of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, composite by bitforms gallery/Claudia Hart.

(Text from the artist’s website)

Gladys Nilsson (b. 1940) Gladys Nilsson is an original member of the Chicago Imagists, a group of artists who arose in the 1960s and 70s in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Imagists are known for their distinct representational artworks which border on the surreal, featuring elements of comedy and fantasy. Nilsson’s diverse influences include 15th century Italian paintings, Cubism, German Expressionism, Egyptian tomb murals, and Vogue Magazine. Her resulting artistic style is inventive, bizarre, and cartoonish, featuring dynamic colors and distorted figures. In 1973, Nilsson became one of the first women to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her artworks are collected by numerous institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gladys Nilsson, Phantom Plus, 1968, watercolor on paper. In the collection of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.

Barbara Latham (1896–1989) Barbara Latham

Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) Helen Frankenthaler

Jennifer Steinkamp (b. 1958)

June Harwood (1934–2015)

Ramona Sakiestewa (b. 1948)

Laura Splan (b. 1973)

10. ??

Can you name five women artists?

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