Buckle up! It’s SWAN Day and we have some women artists to support.
SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now Day is an international holiday that spotlights the contributions of diverse women artists. It is an annual event that is celebrated as part of Women’s History Month on the last Saturday of March and during the surrounding weeks.
In the first nine years there have been over 1,400 SWAN events in 26 countries. There have been festivals, film screenings, play readings, concerts, exhibits, community forums, and parties – all featuring women artists. For more information, you can jump over to www.swanday.org.
People celebrate this holiday by participating in SWAN Day events, making donations to their favorite women artists and organizations benefitting them, and by introducing others to women artists.
So, without further ado, let’s get to highlighting some amazing female artists. Today, I selected an assortment of women reimagining the photographic process and in doing so truly pushing the boundaries and expectations of the medium. I hope you find as much inspiration from their works as I do.
Alison Rossiter's works seemingly combine the aesthetics of photography and painting. Her process involves the acquisition of unexposed, expired photographic paper upon which she pours liquid developer before exposing it to light. The results are abstract and simultaneously touch upon the themes of memory, storytelling, and the history of chemical photographic processes.
Meghann Riepenhoff coats photosensitive paper with her homemade cyanotype emulsion and exposes the surfaces to the elements - tree branches, wind, rain, and ocean waves. Here is a picture of the artist at work.
Terri Loewenthal's Psychscapes are single-exposure, in-camera compositions that utilize special optics developed by Loewenthal to compress vast spaces. She is part of the new wave of women lending their voices to the previously male dominated realm of landscape photography.
Colette Fu constructs complex compositions that incorporate photography and pop-up paper engineering. Her pop-up books tell stories, convey a wide array of emotions and suggest an aliveness despite their stillness.
Jeannie Hutchins prints on silk and experiments with cyanotype and gum bichromate processes along with watercolor pigments to create visual worlds layered with mystery.
So, the reasons I choose to support women artists are the same reasons I write this blog.
We remain underrepresented. Although things are improving, it wasn't so long ago that I heard someone in charge of putting exhibitions together that an all-woman show would be too big a risk for their venue.
The median income for a female photographer is less than HALF that of her male counterpart which is BS. Unequal opportunity is also a big problem.
But, most importantly, I believe that the collective voice of women artists needs to be heard and is different than the more present male voices. Our impressions and responses to the world around us need a representative place in the artistic community.
Here are some other views on the subject from a couple of artists near and dear to my heart.
First, Lynn Dutton is Toronto based an artist and jewelry maker. Here she recounts an experience that solidified her support for fellow women artists.
When I was doing my degree in Art History (at U of T) years ago, I’ll never forget the day I enrolled in the course Women Artist - it was a half course! This infuriated me. Soon after, I enrolled in Women Studies to continue with a double major. The majority of my papers focused on women artists and the history of the invisibility throughout the different artistic periods. Fast forward more than 20 years - women artists are still not equally represented. This is why we must support women artists.
Jessica Kalmar is a fine art photographer, an artistic collaborator of mine, and instructor of photography in southern Ohio and the Pittsburgh area.
It is important to me to support women artists because of the undeniable influential impact we have in not only the art world, but the world in general. If for some reason our voices are faint, then our actions within our art making are clear.
If you'd like to continue to read on the subject of womens' representation in the field of photography, here's an article that shares some stats and womens' experiences.
I'd love to hear what you think. Share why you support women in photography and the arts in the comments.
To see and get your hands on some pieces of Lynn's jewelry - and to really show your SWAN Day spirit is present every day, make sure you get to the Mad Makers Artisan Market.
You can also support this woman artist by subscribing below. The next post will be showing the highlights of my trip to the New York MoMA's Being: New Photography 2018 exhibit.
Have a happy SWAN Day!