LAMA BLOG

National Women’s Month: Women Artists Spotlighted

March 30, 2018

In honor of National Women’s History Month, Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) spotlights five stellar women artists whose potent work and individual practices celebrate womanhood and female autonomy, call into question responses to gender parity, and transcend traditional conceptions of gender identity to address broader issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and tolerance for all humans.

 

Judy Chicago

“When people say to me that we live in a post-feminist world, I wonder what world they live in … Women still struggle with this concept of ‘having it all.’ It’s not a post-feminist world.” A pioneering feminist artist who has been active since the early 1970s, Judy Chicago has continually advocated for women’s equality and liberation in her work using diverse media, including sculptures, paintings, photographs, drawings, and collaborative installations and performance pieces. Perhaps best known for The Dinner Party (1974 – 1979), her iconic installation piece that calls into question women’s place in history at large, Chicago is widely recognized as one of the most important champions of feminism in art. In recent years her activism and artistic practice has expanded to embrace a form of feminism that extends to other marginalized communities. “I believe in art that is connected to real human feeling, that extends itself beyond the limits of the art world to embrace all people who are striving for alternatives in an increasingly dehumanized world,” she has said. “I am trying to make art that relates to the deepest and most mythic concerns of human kind and I believe that, at this moment of history, feminism is humanism.”

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Judy Chicago, Car Hood, 1964
October 14, 2007 Modern Art & Design Auction

Ruth Asawa

Born to Japanese immigrants in Norwalk, California, acclaimed Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa (1926 – 2013) was no stranger to hard work and the large body of sculptures, public installations, and drawings that she created over the course of her career are testament to that same work ethic. One of the most influential modernists of the 20th century, Asawa’s intricate, multi-lobed transparent sculptures out of wire that explore a complex relationship between objects and the spaces they inhabit. Asawa often referred to her intricate wire sculptures as “drawing[s] in space,” “You can show inside and outside, and inside and outside are connected,” she once noted of her work. “Everything is connected, continuous.”

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Ruth Asawa, Untitled S.437, 1956
February 23, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction

Vija Celmins

Vija Celmins’ work, as she herself once put it, “lies between intimacy and distance.” Notably absent of human presence, Celmins’ drawings and paintings of the natural world use found photographs as sources of inspiration, rather than drawing directly from real life. Using a rigorously pared-down, monochromatic color palette that favors tonal gradations of gray, Celmins’ potent still life’s and severely distorted landscapes raises questions surrounding the nature of observation, reproduction, and representation.

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Vija Celmins, Untitled (Fish), 1963
June 10, 2018 Modern Art & Design Auction

Helen Pashgian

Born in Pasadena, California in 1934 Helen Pashgian’s was one of the only female artist recognized as part of the Light and Space Movement of the 1960s and that recognition was slow-coming. Her stunning, intimately-scaled sculptural works engage highly industrial materials such as resins, glass, and plastics to create spherical, conical, and diamond-shaped sculptures and objects that are completely transparent or finished in vibrant colors. Pashgian’s sculptures in epoxy, acrylic, and polyester play with light and perception, shifting shape and tonality as viewers move around them. Although best known for her smaller, translucent objects, in recent years Pashgian has been creating larger-scale works, including her acclaimed acrylic columns, which equally distort and call into question notions of perception and the relationships between objects, bodies, and space. “I think of the columns as ‘presences’ in space—presences that do not reveal everything at once.,” she has said. “One must move around to observe changes: coming and going, appearing and receding, visible and invisible—a phenomenon of constant movement. It touches on the mysterious, the place beyond which the eye cannot go.”

Los Angeles Modern Auctions

Helen Pashgian, Untitled (Sphere), 2014
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Marilyn Neuhart

A native of Long Beach, California, designer, writer, and artist Marilyn Neuhart might best be known for her pioneering design work with and scholarly writings on Charles and Ray Eames and the Eames Office. Formally trained as a graphic designer, Neuhart has worked on numerous design projects, films, exhibitions, and graphics over the course of her career, often in collaboration with her husband, the designer John Neuhart. Based in El Segundo, Neuhart has also made a name for herself as an accomplished artist, whose quirky, hand-sewn dolls were originally created on commission for Alexander Girard’s fabulous mid-century modernist Textile & Objects Shop in New York City. “I am a graphic designer by training and profession and a writer by happenstance,” she has said. “Both of these activities are intensely rewarding and have become like second nature to me. However, unlike design and often writing, which are by nature and necessity cooperative, collaborative enterprises requiring the interaction of other people, sewing is mine and mine alone-no opinions to ask, no advice to solicit, no expertise to borrow, not even, especially not even, from those nearest and dearest to me. Mine!”

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Marilyn Neuhart, Dolls, c. 1961-65
December 11, 2011 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

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