The majority of visual artists are women, but typically a far smaller fraction than half are exhibited in art museums. On top of that, the vast majority of nudes depicted in art works are female.
The Female Gaze: Women Depicting Women, the current exhibit at the dot-art gallery, attempts to subvert these ingrained expectations of the art world by focusing on the faces of women, portrayed by women.
Three locally-based female artists were chosen to display their work in this exhibit, and all three have vastly different styles. Mia Cathcart, who paints from the Royal Standard, paints lively, bold portraits straddling the fence between life-like and abstract. Her style is meant to evoke a feeling of anonymity from that which is familiar. She seeks to question the expectations of normal portraiture, which she does using fluid brush strokes.
Wirral-based experimental fine art photographer Liz Jeary works in photography and embroidery, a style also known as photobroderie. She creates unique portraits that combine bright stitchery with black and white photographs. The effect is other-worldly and pushes the boundary of what can be called a photograph.
Becky Atherton’s acrylic paintings, which may also be described as other-worldly, present women melded with mythological birds. The evocative paintings are theatrical and fantastical. Becky is inspired by the natural world and wants her audience to feel connected to it and gain a deeper respect for it through her unconventional paintings.
The exhibit is small, but each art piece speaks its own message that is worth contemplating, as women explore their own identities and the identities of other women through these pieces. With a great number of art works existing which depict the beauty of the female body, it is refreshing to find some that depict the beauty of the female face. The final product is something ethereal; all three styles are different but somehow corroborate each other.
The exhibit was aptly timed to open around the same time as International Women’s Day. It is free to view and is open Mondays-Saturdays, 10am-6pm until May 4th.