The Female Figure, Seen Through the Eyes of 28 Women Artists

Secluded from the male gaze, women have a different take on what it means to be and to portray “the fairer sex.” In its second year, “Women Painting Women,” at RJD Gallery in Sag Harbor, is all about representing the feminine figure from a female perspective. More than 250 women submitted works to be considered for the exhibition, though only 28 could be included.

Each painting has a diverse take on the female form, though most depict the subject in a realistic manner. Yana Movchan’s portraits, for example, blend traditional portraiture with elements of contemporary life. Her Fashionista is a young girl with a necklace of small teddy bears and pearls, her lipstick a dark plum color. Odile Richer’s portrait, La Pesanteur et La Grace, is of a young woman holding a mounted bear head, the wallpaper behind her butterfly pattern. She appears like an enchantress, surrounded by spiritual objects to help with her daily rituals. Jessica Gordon’s painting, Her Father's Daughter (2014), portrays a young female with buckets of water and freshly caught fish. The portrait could just as easily feature a male counterpart, though she herself can handle these tasks. Terry Strickland’s It's a Man's World featuresa woman playfully holding her hair in front of her face as if it were a moustache. Though we understand her jest, we also understand the implication of the subject’s gesture.

Many of these women are meeting for the first time, and are finding common threads within their work, as well as building relationships with others that might not have existed were it not for this series of shows. “I think it’s a wider experience we’re touching on—things like motherhood, being a friend—and less about a straight depiction of female classical beauty as an ideal,” Strickland tells The Sag Harbor Express. “Especially the people who end up being in these shows, often it’s a narrative about their relationship with someone and deeper than the classical ideal of a beautiful form.”

Haniya Rae

Women Painting Women” is on view at RJD Gallery, Sag Harbor, Oct. 9th–Nov. 10th, 2014.

Follow RJD Gallery on Artsy.