Women and Art

My absolute fav photographic portrait of an artist, Helen Frankenthaler (Gordon Parks, 1956)

Today a ‘hello’ from me, Bec Vandyk, to acknowledge all the women in Gippsland who make art. I do believe that whoever makes a home, not just a house, often uses creative and artistic energy in this process. So while you might not be “an artist” you may well use artistic energy that gives you some satisfaction in return. I’ll be doing the admin on the Gippsland Woman site over this next year, so forgive me if we concentrate on arty things sometimes – it’s my first love. I’m a painter and a tinkerer, and here’s the canvas on my easel at the moment:

“Dig, Woman!” – oil on canvas, 900mm x 1200mm

It’s called ‘Dig, Woman!’ and it’s about women who sort through all the piles of things left over, finding what’s worth something, making sure it isn’t lost. It’s a little bit about our technology, about our earth’s use of resources too. It’s almost finished, just a few brushstrokes to go and a signature. Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think, and whether you’re an artist yourself, too.

International Women’s Day – March 8

With the annual nod to women coming up, I wanted to pass on a great bit of women’s energy that began last century. It’s about art, but it’s also a great story about making sure that women’s voices aren’t lost in history.

Sheila: A Foundation for Women in Visual Art

Sheila Cruthers, (1950s) with husband James, photographed by Henrik Tived

Lady Sheila Cruthers (nee Della Vedova, b. 1925) was a ‘woman of influence’ (wealthy, white) who championed women artists in the 1970s, buying lots of their art. Now, there’s a Foundation set up to continue Lady Sheila’s work, and it’s still helping women artists in Australia. One of the best parts of the organisation is The Countess Report – a yearly count in art galleries and museums of the amount of work by women versus by men. Traditionally, these hallowed halls contain mostly artwork by men, so the Report is a way of measuring fairness. At the moment, the state galleries contain 34% women’s work, and the national galleries contain 26% women’s work. Not great. Especially when overwhelmingly, it is girls who enter university to study Art. Do you know of any Gippsland girls or women about to begin at Federation University, Churchill? Do they need some extra encouragement or mentoring?

A Gippsland Woman get together

We have a couple of free tickets to give away for the Women in Gippsland event celebrating International Women’s Day on Tuesday 9th March. It’s being held at the West Gippsland Arts Centre in Warragul and promises to be a feel-good occasion. There’s a great panel of speakers lined up, including Joy Heenan, who works with SPIRE supporting those who have sustained a spinal injury. There’s lots of other things planned for the night too. If you’d like a ticket, let us know!

If you have a great idea to write about, or you’d like to do a book review or Netflix binge recommendation, please let me know!

Bec Vandyk, for Gippsland Woman.

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