Reframing Women and Self-portraiture
The way we present ourselves is a deliberate and complex act with which women artists have grappled for many centuries. Self-portraiture, explored across different media – drawing, painting and photography – emerges as a place where identity can be freely analysed and questioned. By choosing to represent themselves looking out at us, women have countered the idea of a passive feminine sensibility. Often, their self-portraits disrupt past and contemporary representations of women made by male artists, for the pleasure of other men. This display takes gender as a starting point, however some of the artists have challenged the conventional expectations of womanhood, adopting an androgynous or masculine stance. At a time when ‘selfies’ have become ubiquitous, modern and contemporary self-portraiture takes on a new significance, inviting us to consider how identity can be performed through image-making.