January 31, 2020

Can we balance 500 years of the male gaze by looking through the eyes of our female artists?

Gill Walton

Oil on aluminium with wooden frameHer Gaze, 2020Each piece is under 3 inches wide

This work is made up of a series of tiny paintings based on the 18th century tradition of representing a lover’s eye on a piece of jewellery. These miniatures were usually kept hidden from view as they were often the eye of a mistress. Each of the eyes I have painted here is taken from a self portrait done by female artists from the last 500 years. Like the pieces of jewellery, women artists have been kept hidden, out of the limelight and pushed to the periphery of art history. We are starting to change that now but there is still a long way to go. Can looking into their own eyes help us understand what the world was like for them? You can see here Gwen John from her self portrait of 1902, Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun from her ‘Self Portrait in a Straw Hat’ from 1782 and Artemisia Gentileschi from ‘Self Portrait as a Lute Player’ which was made between 1616 and 1618. The project is ongoing.