Women Painting Women is a thematic exhibition featuring 46 female artists who choose women as subject matter in their works. This presentation includes approximately 50 evocative portraits that span the late 1960s to the present. International in scope, Women Painting Women recognizes female perspectives that have been underrepresented in the history of postwar figuration. Painting is the focus of the exhibition, as traditionally it has been a privileged medium for portraiture, particularly for white male artists. The artists here use painting and women as subject matter as vehicles for change and range from early trailblazers like Alice Neel and Emma Amos to emerging artists such as Jordan Casteel and Apolonia Sokol. Some, such as Jenny Saville, work on large canvases, producing images that dwarf the space around them, while others, including Somaya Critchlow, paint on a modest scale that invites close viewing. All place women—their bodies, gestures, and individuality—at the forefront.
Four themes trend in the works included in Women Painting Women: The Body, Nature Personified, Color as Portrait, and Selfhood. Through these themes, the artists conceive new ways to activate and elaborate on the portrayal of women. Replete with complexities, realness, abjection, beauty, complications, everydayness, and joy, the portraits in this exhibition make way for female artists to share the stage with their male counterparts in defining the image of woman and how it has evolved.