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By Hope Hood

With 2016 in full swing, there are many artists currently on the rise that we should all be keeping up with. Here are some of the most influential female artists that are both intentionally and unintentionally taking strides to bring more recognition to females in the fine art sphere. 

These women make the cut for their ingenuity, imagination and sheer range of mediums they created with. They are also women of their time, using social media, new shopping channels and new obsessions of a modern society in their art and making it their own. 

EVA ARMISEN

Eva Armisen was born in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1969. Although she is known for her sophisticatedly cartoonish paintings, Armisen also explores the mediums of etching, drawing, and pottery. Her pieces exercise a neutral palette with accents of bright colors, and feature a young girl with rosy cheeks, a wide smile, and expressive eyebrows. Armisen’s work frequently incorporates words and phrases, which are carefully chosen to evoke the viewer to think about their own life and relation to the specific, intentionally chosen text. These portraits and scenes, although simple, are intended to motivate the viewer to become introspective and reflect upon their own lives. The characters seem to be intentionally simple so that they are more relatable to a wider audience.

Armisen’s simple, but by no means immature, portraits also convey the joy she finds in exploring genuine emotions while painting; the artist creates works that present the viewer with emotional authenticity rather than realism. More knowledgeable viewers are challenged to forget the constraints of their conventional artistic training while admiring Armisen’s body of work, as she hopes to create work that “evoke[s] and inspire[s] core emotional values, in ourselves and in the world around us” –Armisen, 2014. As Armisen continues to build her body of work, she hopes that viewers will continue to witness her emotional growth and discoveries.  Eva is quickly gaining international popularity, with exhibits in North America, Europe, and Asia.

JENNIFER RUBELL

Jennifer Rubell creates participatory installations, sculptures, and happenings that create intimacy between herself and her audience. Her mediums range from food, to glass, to film, as the artist explores the audiences connections to both everyday and art objects. These pieces aim to influence the viewer to leave the gallery reflecting upon not only the artist’s work and visual use of fundamental elements such as color, shape, and contrast, but also upon their own lives and experiences. In the piece “Not Alone”, which was exhibited at the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London in the Fall of 2015, Rubell explored her experience with motherhood. This performative exhibition is representative of Rubell’s body of work, as the viewer is immediately invited into her curated world upon entrance to the gallery. In this specific exhibition, Rubell encourages the viewer to independently participate through varying controlled activities and experiences.

While in the gallery, the viewer is handed a glass sculpture of a baby to hold, is instructed to unclothe in a private chamber to watch a video of the artist riding a horse, and is presented with a hardboiled egg adorned with salt and pepper to eat. These tasks performed in the gallery strive to present the viewer with the emotional elements of motherhood, such as vulnerability and intimacy, as well as the physical acts of motherhood like holding a delicate child and the fertilization of an egg of a woman. Rubell’s engaging works are carefully planned, and by creating relationships with viewers she is able to further discussions on both global and personal experiences. Rubell believes that “[it is] an artist’s obligation to fix the world in the sense of not accepting it as it is,” and plans to continue to create works that rely heavily on audience participation, and which provokes participants to rewrite their opinions on and relationships with art objects.

LINDSAY LAWSON

Lindsay Lawson is an artist that exercises photography, video, and sculpture to repurpose strange objects. Lawson obtained her Masters in Fine Arts from the University of California Los Angeles, where she was enrolled in the New Genres Program. This program’s curriculum heavily influenced Lawson’s work, which evaluates the classical roles of art and art objects in contemporary culture. Lawson wishes to express how material things exist and evolve independently of our fleeting human experience, as she examines the idea of objects holding memories, emotions, and experiences. Frequently using objects that are found on eBay, Lawson investigates objects in several forms, such as their identities and capabilities. In her piece “Hypothetical Lamp Collection,” Lawson challenged the conventional idea of what a lamp is – what makes this object a lamp? Lawson concluded that any object with a light screwed onto it can take the shape of a lamp and hold the same duties or agency. Lawson also explores how objects’ physical attributes are changed in an online space- how in new hands they have another life and hold new meaning.

She also believes that online stores, such as eBay and Etsy, which have no brick and mortar locations, have changed the way that people look at objects. Lawson also explores the small community of objectum sexuals: individuals who feel a romantic or sexual attraction to specific inanimate objects. Lawson’s current project, “The Smiling Rock”, releasing online soon, is a feature film that explores both the agency that objects create in their online spaces, and the way that individuals can become attached to inanimate objects. In this narrative, a woman enters a bidding war on eBay in hopes of purchasing a geode rock, which has patterns of a smiling face, which is listed at $1,000,000 due to its irregularity. This feature film presents the viewer with several questions about objects and hopes to lead them through the process of attachment to objects, although you may not have yet physically attained them. Lawson’s work appears to relate strongly to the idea of online relationships and the mysterious, illusive patterns that the internet has created in our contemporary society. Although many people who date online have not yet physically met, they are able to fall in love and form attachments via the internet. 

MARGO WOLOWIEC

Margo Wolowiec’s work is primarily derived from images she collects from various social media platform such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. Wolowiec transfers these images onto textile threads and proceeds to hand-weave these threads into complete images. Using fabric dye and other liquid mediums, the artist continues to manipulate and transform these images into further abstraction as the piece progresses toward completion. Transient images feel unstable and sometimes unrecognizable although they are woven upon a durable surface.

Successfully integrating traditional and time-consuming methods into each piece, such as hand-weaving and painting, with contemporary images quickly captured on advanced technology such as smartphones and digital cameras, serves as a testament to the core of Woloweic’s mission; the artist’s process is just as important as the finished work as she hopes to challenge viewers to consider the way our modern society views immateriality. 

PHOEBE BOSWELL

Phoebe Boswell uses a wide variety of artistic mediums such as pencil, installation, and animation to portray global narratives. Born in Kenya and raised in the Middle East by a Kikuyu mother and British Kenyan father, it is no surprise that Boswell’s body of work focuses on large scale ideas, such as identity and its formation. Using different mediums, Boswell has been able to invite viewers into her headspace and communicate just how complicated and fragile the pieces of an individual’s identity truly are. Through installation, Boswell invites viewers to contemplate their own existence and what experiences, emotions, and family history has added up to bring them to this exact moment.

In an installation entitled The Matter of Memory, Boswell recreated her grandmother’s living room and filled objects such as couches, pottery, and wallpaper with imagery based on stories her father and mother told her about their different homes. The installation was a participatory experience, as viewers were encouraged to reflect upon how their family’s past had similarly filled their homes, both literally and figuratively, and greatly influenced the initial formation of their identity.  Playing with aspects of story-telling, Boswell uses personal and historical experiences to convey her journey through life thus far, and continued explorations of human character and the complicated, fragmented process through which it is created.

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March 19, 2016