We’re part of a generation spoiled by a high concentration of exciting young women in art. And we’re equally spoiled with our ‘never-more-than-a-click-away’ access to them. Juno Calypso, Maisie Cousins and Top Girl Studio, to name a few from the UK, are just three female artists amongst a plethora of women using Instagram as their own curated gallery space. In fact, a common denominator connecting these artists, is that they each bagged their first solo gallery gig through the unregulated accessibility that has become synonymous with social media.
However, with more and more women securing inclusive gallery spaces, female-fuelled art has far surpassed the confines of our Instagram feeds. And, change can be felt. Last year Frances Morris became the Tate Modern’s first ever female director (better late than never, hey), and her arrival came with one solid promise: to celebrate more female artists in a space that has historically, and let’s face it, uncomfortably lacked in diversity and inclusivity.
While many forms of art are unfortunately getting lost in the infinite scrollability of our social media feeds, we wanted to share some of our fave female artists who keep their energy alive through their online space and IRL in galleries around the globe.
Alice Skinner is the illustrator behind @whothafuckisalice – a technicolour Instagram account championing all things ‘girls rule’. Her work is an exploration of female sexuality, using art to trace what it means to to a woman today in a cyber-submerged world. Skinner’s response to the well-documented issue of tampon tax was also pretty impressive. Resonating with women worldwide, Skinner wrote: “Periods are not a luxury and we are calling on Theresa May to make sanitary products accessible to every girl receiving free school meals.” Not satisfied with words, Skinner then teamed up with Amika George, co-founder of #FreePeriods and The Pink Protest to create a series of bespoke illustrations that would give her opinions visual translation both on and offline.
In 2010, Spansberg was influenced by the fine line drawing technique so often associated with Pablo Picasso, and this reference point can be felt today in the artist’s signature ‘one line’ paintings of women. Over the last seven years, Spansberg has brought her work to galleries in Sydney and New York, all the while cultivating an impressive Instagram follower count to boot. This year the Copenhagen-based artist is set to preview new work in gallery spaces internationally.
Phoebe Collings-James isn’t short of things to add to her CV. In 2009, Collings-James graduated from London’s Goldsmith’s University with an Art degree – she went on to launch her first exhibition later that same year. The artist’s work has been featured in the pages of British Vogue, and most recently Collings-James collaborated with British designer Amanda Wakeley in an advertising campaign that has previously featured women such as ballerina Kate Byrne and Kathryn Parson – the co founder of Decoded. Her work sets out to question sexual and racial injustices – see her ongoing exhibition oKoKok. Alongside all of this, the 29-year-old Hackney-born artist continues to explore the things that really matter like gender, identity and social structures.
Photographer and founder of Brick magazine, Hayley Louise Brown has had what might just be, her strongest year yet. As 2018 arrives, Brown adds another issue of Brick to the magazine’s ever-expanding portfolio and following the success of her first solo exhibition in London last year, fashion brand Ace & Tate have announced that they will continue to support Brown creatively throughout 2018. Watch this space…
This year London’s tube network will host a year-long programme of works by exclusively female artists. The programme will mark 100 years since women in the UK won the right to vote, and forms part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s gender equality campaign, #BehindEveryGreatCity. The work of Akunyili Crosby will be showcased at Brixton station later this year—but you can head over to her Instagram today for a sneak peek. Taking inspiration from her Nigerian heritage, Akunyili Crosby will focus on the country of her birth, as well as her adopted home in the United States.
Image: Alice Skinner