A Studio of Her Own: Women Artists in the Collection
Through September 12, 2020
While women have been a significant part of the artworld for centuries, their work hasn’t always received equal attention and critical acclaim. In 2020, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art joins with many institutions commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. As we pause to consider women’s vital contributions to society, the Museum of Art celebrates their artistic creativity, originality, and impact with this new exhibition.
In a groundbreaking essay from 1971, art historian Linda Nochlin called attention to the great gender inequality that existed in the artworld. Her argument emphasized that women had been excluded from training and study in official art academies for centuries and thus were unable to succeed in the same ways as their male contemporaries. The fifty years following Nochlin’s call for change have included more research in discovering women artists, and heightened efforts to support, exhibit, and collect their work. Much remains to be done, but the recent trend of museums publicly committing to purchase and exhibit more work by women is a positive development.
The BYU Museum of Art wants to be among those that value women and their artistic achievements. This exhibition allows us to learn their stories, honor their achievements, and applaud their work. The 60 artists included in the exhibition come from all walks of life and varying levels of professionalism. Some of the 110 works—which showcase various media, including painting, textiles, prints, photographs, mixed media, and digital work—were purposefully acquired through purchase, while others have been generously gifted to the museum by committed artists, donors, and faculty members.
Explore each piece featured in the exhibition by clicking on an exhibition section below!
Many artists in this gallery are inspired by the world around them and have captured it through their unique vantage points and perspectives, in styles varying form naturalistic to boldly abstract. For some, this re-creation of their outdoor surroundings is simply a way to honor their familiar, daily environment; for others, it represents something new, exotic, and dreamlike.
Home. The word in laden with meaning, both positive and negative. The artists in this gallery have focused on imagery of homes and the daily domestic activities that give our lives meaning and structure.
From bustling modern cities to crumbling ruins, we are deeply impacted by the manmade environments around us. Whether you grew up near factories, in busy cities, or in the quiet countryside, this section depicts those environments through the artists who lived or worked in them.
Women were denied access to official art academies, unable to study from live models, and therefore not trained to create larger, monumental scale paintings. Additionally, for many female artists, demands of the home and family prevented them from serious study of the arts. Undeterred, women excelled in painting floral arrangements and still lifes.
A portrait can often tell us as much about the artist as it does about the sitter. This section contains images of individuals but also of families, cities, nations, and cultures.
Artists often use their creative energies to share their convictions and beliefs; for some, this includes their relationship to the divine and their thoughts about meaning in this world and beyond.