the last lap
2016 Oil on Italian Linen 120x100cm
There are lots of women in the great art galleries of the world. Just not many women artists.
In 2012 about 62% of art and design students in the UK were female. But an audit of London galleries found that just 31% presented work by women. The Tate purchased only 21% of the works from living females artists, while in LA and New York galleries the number was 32.3%.
In an age where gender equality is legislated, it still seems the way for a majority of women to get into galleries is to be featured in the work. Often sans clothes.
But surely this life preserver keeping the old ideology afloat is an anachronism. Eileen Cooper (the first woman appointed Keeper of the Royal Academy) says the art schools graduates of both genders are as strong as each other. With both quality and numbers, the institutions must surely collect and promote female talent.
And yes, the irony that this painting featuring a naked woman was made by a man is not lost to the artist. Does this diminish the issue or lessen the voice?