A World of Our Own – Women as Artists

I have to apologise for the lack of posts due to the pressure of the day job. There haven’t been enough hours in the day to give this project the attention it deserves and I hope things will start to improve, at least for a short while.

In the little spare time I have had, I have been reading A World of Our Own – Women as Artists by Frances Borzello.

The book covers some of the ground in the TV series The Story of Women and Art but in more depth as you would expect from the printed medium. It describes in chronological order the hurdles female artists had to face as well as the increasing opportunities as women were accepted in a man’s world.

The interesting thing I found while reading this book was that artists from the past faced similar problems to today’s artists – a good education in the technical aspects of the craft, managing your workflow and having a well run studio to earn a living wage and networking with the right people to get to where you want to be.

It could be argued that the lack of opportunities was just a reflection of the wider culture at the time. The art world isn’t the only industry that in today’s eyes has an embarrassing history for women. I do wonder if we will look back to today with a sense of shame at how women are being treated by art critics, dealers, publishers and others in the art establishment.

Concluding the book is a very positive final paragraph. There ARE female artists who have given us a fresh perspective on the way we view the world around us, despite all the problems. Without question women have to work harder to make a success and you do have to admire the ones that have made it to the top.

Looking back on the artists I have reviewed, six have been men – Rankin, Freud, Ralph Gibson, Brandt and David Bailey – while two have been women – Annie Leibovitz and Jayne Parker. It may just be coincidence but the works I have admired the most are by the women.