Mother, Maiden, Courtesan: Woman and Her Image in Art
The majority of known, collected and discussed self-taught artists are men. Images of women in culture often express artists' idealization, ambivalence or wariness - a force to be controlled. The woman may be seen as a seductress leading men to sin and ruin. These complicated roles ascribed to women defy easy explanation. Lewis Smith's "Three Women" are circus performers demonstrating their skill and strength. Their costumes are form-fitting and seductive. Though strong, they must be feminine and alluring, never masculine or dominating. In contrast, Annie Blandings' "Barn" portrays couples dancing, rapt in each other. The woman is an adored partner that holds the family together. The drawing itself is pure and ethereal.