Through Her Eyes: Contemporary Female Artists

By  0 Comments

Art history has stunted female artists’ practice throughout time although their work remains as personal, diverse and proficient as that of their male counterparts. For decades, male artists have dominated at auctions and in museums.

Georgia O’Keeffe holds the highest auction record for a female for her work “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” at $44.4 million, whereas the highest price for a male artist’s piece sold at auction belongs to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, “Salvator Mundi,” at $450,312,500. This difference illustrates the staggering disparity between male and female artists, not due to lack of talent. In a February 2017 article, Christie’s, the well-known auction house, noted, “In 1723, Margareta Haverman, a Dutch painter, was expelled from the Academie Royal in Paris when the painting she submitted was judged too good to have been done by a woman.”

That’s just one example of female artistry that’s been omitted throughout history. Not too long ago, in the 1980s, the Met’s Modern Art Museum had fewer than five percent female artists on display. It took an anonymous collective, the Guerrilla Girls, formed in 1985, to create attention and start the conversation surrounding the lack of women in art.
Happily, today there has finally been a shift in the art realm to focus on female artists. Several women artists have deservedly claimed their place as market leaders today through their intimate twist on traditional genres such as still life, landscape and portraiture. Here are a few powerful contemporary female artists to watch:

Julie Curtiss
The French-born artist is heavily influenced by Japanese graphic imagery, as she lived in Tokyo for a bit before she settled back in Brooklyn, New York. Curtiss explains that her work is meant to be psychological. She omits parts of an image and suggests abnormal situations in order to contrast familiarity with surrealism. In her artist statement, she explains, “With faceless portraits of women, gnarled fingers and toes, and voluptuous bodies composed of hair, I would like to present the viewer with an enigmatic puzzle, an invitation to reflect on the idea of an unfixed, ever-changing self.” Curtiss is represented by various galleries in the New York City area and her work may be viewed online at

Loie Hollowell
Demand for Hollowell’s paintings more than tripled since her first show a few years ago. The artist finds inspiration through her body and creates sexually suggestive landscapes through highly sophisticated forms of abstraction that have proven to be extremely affecting. Her compositions are composed of abstracted figural drawings that mimic female painters such as Georgia O’Keeffe and her flowers. Hollowell has explained in interviews that her work is extremely personal as it is derivative of her body, but through abstraction it doesn’t force the viewer to have to deal with the content if they don’t want to. Today there is a wait list for her work; watch her through her instagram account, loiehollowell.

Shara Hughes
Hughes’ radiant landscapes sold out and caused an auction bidding war at a surrealist exhibition in London last year. The New York-based surrealist artist takes the traditional subject matter of landscape and presents layers of abstracted, actual and pictorial space in search of simplicity. Hughes explains in her artist statement, “In these works past and future disappear. There is only the present. Invention, intention, playfulness and trust. All happen then/now.” Through texture, pattern and perspective, Hughes creates an unconventional space with a feeling of collage. Her bright and vivid colors snagged her a spot in Vogue Magazine in 2016 as well. This artist is definitely worth watching.

Holly Coulis
Coulis has been showing her art since the late 1990s; she’s had a slow, steady career that has slid under the radar for decades. Her signature works include portraits and still lifes with a painterly style influenced by Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and Alex Katz. However, it’s entirely her own practice through bold color blocks, simple forms and manipulation of depth. Her subjects include fruit, vegetables, flowers and everyday objects such as butter knives and pitchers; through her use of bright color she animates her seemingly simple subject matter. This Canadian-born female artist resides in Brooklyn, New York; she’s represented by galleries in New York City and Los Angeles.

Gina Beavers
The relief-style works that Beavers creates transform paintings into sculptures. Her subject matter includes food, eyes and female torsos. Through layering, the pieces become three-dimensional, protruding from the frames. She works closely from photographs, illustrating every detail and creating her photorealist works to the extreme through acrylic paint, pumice and glass beads. Her humorous take on exaggerating and satirizing the act of painting is playful and worth watching.

It’s worth the time to view the websites of these artists; you may discover a new style and even more artists to watch. ■

Sources:,,, and