Women painters
HOPE GANGLOFF (b. 1974), "Queen Jane Approximately," 2011, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 108 in., collection of Alturas Foundation, San Antonio; photo: Susan Inglett Gallery, New York City

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Fort Worth
Through September 25, 2022

“Women Painting Women” is a title we see often. Now the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is presenting its own take on this important theme through an exhibition of approximately 60 portraits created by 46 women from around the world since the late 1960s.

Chief curator Andrea Karnes says, “The pivotal narrative is how these artists use the conventional portrait of a woman as a catalyst to tell another story outside of male interpretations of the female body. They conceive new ways to activate and elaborate on the portrayal of women. Replete with complexities, realness, abjection, beauty, complications, everydayness, pain, and pleasure, the portraits connect to all kinds of women, and they make way for women artists to share the stage with their male counterparts in defining the female figure.”

To achieve these goals, the show highlights four themes. First, the body, ranging from unidealized to fantasized nudes, is seen by such artists as Alice Neel, Jenny Saville, Sylvia Sleigh, Mickalene Thomas, and Lisa Yuskavage. Next comes “Nature Personified,” in which artists like Joan Semmel, Luchita Hurtado, Susan Rothenberg, and Tracey Emin look to the mythology of woman as it relates to mother earth figures, priestesses, and goddesses, as well as to the metaphysical powers associated with being female.

The exhibition’s third section highlights “Color as Portrait,” revealing how exaggerated or dramatic usage of color and form can convey specific content about female identity, including race, gender, and archetypes. The artists represented here include Emma Amos, Faith Ringgold, Joan Brown, and Amy Sherald. Finally comes a section about selfhood, in which subtleties of gesture, posture, and setting capture the energy or presence of a sitter’s psychological (sometimes physical) state. On view here are works by Nicole Eisenman, Maria Lassnig, Elizabeth Peyton, Marlene Dumas, Jordan Casteel, and others.

“Women Painting Women” is accompanied by a 172-page catalogue published by DelMonico Books.

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