Pretty much forever, the world was told: “Women can’t paint.” Or “Shouldn’t”. Or some other excuse to keep them on the model’s side of the room.
Of course, with lots of hard work and pushing back by female artists and feminists, barriers fell, and women are fully accepted as artists and even leaders in all media.
Or are they?
Even now, I believe, some media are seen as secondary, lesser, not quite art.
As “women’s art”.
Take textiles, for example.
It’s a rare thing for a gallery or museum to dedicate a showing to a textile artist, and I have long thought that that is due to textile making being seen as a female means of expression, decorative, suited only for utility in the home. “The artificial divide between fine art and textiles is a gendered issue” according to Amber Butchart, writing for Frieze.com (14 Nov 2018)
I’m not saying that textile work such as weaving, dying and quilting, isn’t currently predominantly done by women. I’m saying that it doesn’t matter: these forms are (or can be) art, just as much as paint on canvas is (or can be) art.
As Co-Directors of the Newmarket Juried Art Show, we celebrate the reclamation of the textile arts by women who put their work out in the world as art. From our beginnings in 2019, we have backed that celebration by offering a Medium Award for Textile Arts.
We have not yet had any Textile entries, so I guess it’s time to really put the word out there…
June 2022 Update: We had a number of excellent entries in Textile Arts in 2021 (and already in 2022, even though submissions have barely begun). Check them out under the Past Shows menu.
Hope to hear from you soon – Deadline approaches!
Dave and Peggy