Women have been inspiring contributors to the world of art throughout history. You’ll find wonderful books in our circulating collection featuring artists such as Frida Kahlo, Faith Ringgold, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Judy Chicago, Berthe Morisot, and Alice Neel. The following titles are the latest additions to this very important and intriguing collection.
Artemisia Gentileschi is known for her dramatic and realistic paintings depicting strong, assertive female characters. Born in Rome, 1593, she was a pupil of her father, a successful painter who studied in Caravaggio’s Baroque style of painting. Much of her art revolved around biblical and mythological themes. “Artemisia Gentileschi” by Sheila Barker covers the life of this fascinating painter while examining the cultural and political backgrounds of the time. An absorbing book with beautiful color reproductions throughout.
“The Women Who Changed Art Forever: Feminist Art – the Graphic Novel” by Valentina Grande and Eva Rossetti offers a unique graphic overview of four artists who brought the struggles and inequality towards women in the art world to light. As the authors state about the artists: “Each made their mark in their own powerful way. Judy Chicago made us reassess the female body, Faith Ringgold taught us that feminism is for everyone, Ana Mendieta pushed the boundaries of identity, while the Guerrilla Girls have taken the fight to the male-dominated museum.” After reading the short backgrounds on these art activists, take a more in-depth look into their lives and art with the following titles: “Judy Chicago: An American Vision” by Edward Lucie-Smith, “Faith Ringgold” by Lisa E. Farrington, or “Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly.”
Maggie Doherty’s “The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s” focuses on poets Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin, painter Barbara Swan, sculptor Marianna Pineda, and writer Tillie Olsen. These five women were some of the first to receive fellowships to the newly created Institute for Independent Study at Radcliffe College. A requirement for applicants was to have either a doctorate or “the equivalent” in creative achievement. So this group of friends dubbed themselves “the Equivalents.” Opening in 1961, the program was envisioned to help women with children pursue their dreams of becoming scholars and artists. It gave them the support and opportunities to follow their artistic passions. Doherty delves into the friendships, personalities, obstacles, and careers of these women and the progression of feminism in this captivating story.
The next time you visit Smiley Library, please stop by our circulating art collection. These paintings were created by the talented men and women from the Redlands Art Association and are available to check out and take home for six weeks. There is a limit of two pieces of art per checkout. It’s a great way to support our local artists and enjoy a piece of Redlands culture.