New Books for 8 - 15 March
Bronwyn Oliver : strange things
While many of her contemporaries began making installation art, Oliver worked within the traditional discipline of sculpture. She was an intensely ambitious artist whose works seem to grapple almost effortlessly with the big questions of life. Her organic yet strangely human sculptures are coveted by collectors for their eloquent beauty.
Oliver’s death ten years ago cast a shadow over her work and her personality. The woman that emerges from this book is intelligent, funny, modest, hard-working, and, in the words of Roslyn Oxley, "never boring".
Imagine there's no woman : ethics and sublimation
Jacques Lacan claimed that his theory of feminine sexuality, including the infamous proposition, "the Woman does not exist," constituted a revision of his earlier work on "the ethics of psychoanalysis." In Imagine There's No Woman, Joan Copjec shows how Freud's ragtag, nearly incoherent notion of sublimation was refashioned by Lacan to become the key term in his ethics. To trace the link between feminine being and Lacan's ethics of sublimation, Copjec argues, one must take the negative proposition about the woman's existence not as just another nominalist denunciation of thought's illusions about the existence of universals, but as recognition of the power of thought, which posits and gives birth to the difference of objects from themselves.
Damned whores and God's police : the colonisation of women in Australia
Sexual harassment, domestic violence and date rape had not been named, although they certainly existed, when Damned Whores and God's Police was first published in 1975. That was before the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 and before large numbers of women became visible in employment, in politics and elsewhere across society. It's hard to imagine an Australia where these abuses were not yet fully understood as obstacles to women's equality, yet that was Australia in 1975. It was in this climate that Anne Summers identified 'damned whores' and 'God's police', the stereotypes that characterised all women as being either virtuous mothers whose function was to civilise society or bad girls who refused, or were unable, to conform to that norm and who were thus spurned and rejected by mainstream Australia.
Vermeer's women : secrets and silence
Centring on the extraordinary "Lacemaker" from the Musee du Louvre, this beautiful book investigates the subtle and enigmatic paintings by Johannes Vermeer that celebrate the intimacy of the Dutch household. Moments frozen in paint that reveal young women sewing, reading or playing musical instruments, captured in Vermeer's uniquely luminous style, recreate a silent and often mysterious domestic realm, closed to the outside world, and inhabited almost exclusively by women and children. Three internationally recognized experts in the field explain why women engaged in mundane domestic tasks, or in pleasurable pastimes such as music making, writing letters, or adjusting their toilette, comprise some of the most popular Dutch paintings of the seventeenth century.
The female gaze : women artists making their world
The Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women is a collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) of approximately 400 works of art including paintings, photographs, drawings, watercolours, pastels, collage, prints, fabric pieces, ceramics, bronze, wood, and sculpture in other media by over 150 artists. The collection includes works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Joan Brown, Viola Frey, Ana Mendieta, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Christina Ramberg, Betye Saar, Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, and Beatrice Wood among many others. This accessibly written, fully illustrated publication includes ten new essays on women artists since the 1920s.
Elizabeth Peyton : dark incandescence
Radical Women : Latin American Art, 1960 - 1985
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Amidst the tumult and revolution that characterized the latter half of the 20th century in Latin America and the US, women artists were staking their claim in nearly every field. This wide- ranging volume examines the work of more than 100 female artists with nearly 300 works in the fields of painting, sculpture, photography, video, performance art, and other experimental media. A series of thematic essays, arranged by country, address the cultural and political contexts in which these radical artists worked, while other essays address key issues such as feminism, art history, and the political body.
Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900
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In the second half of the 19th century, Paris attracted an international gathering of women artists, drawn to the French capital by its academies and museums, studios and salons. Featuring thirty-six artists from eleven different countries, this beautifully illustrated book explores the strength of these women’s creative achievements, through paintings by acclaimed Impressionists such as Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, and extraordinary lesser-known artists such as Marie Bashkirtseff, Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowicz, Paula Modersohn-Becker, and Hanna Pauli. It examines their work against the sociopolitical background of the period, when women were mostly barred from formal artistic education but cleverly navigated the city’s network of ateliers, salons, and galleries. Essays consider the powerfully influential work of women Impressionists, representations of the female artist in portraiture, the unique experiences of Nordic women artists, and the significant presence of women artists throughout the history of the Paris Salon. By addressing the long-undervalued contributions of women to the art of the later 19th century, Women Artists in Paris pays tribute to pioneers who not only created remarkable paintings but also generated momentum toward a more egalitarian art world.