Monday, July 7, 2008

Women in Art
30 x 24 Oil on Linen

Art history has been, almost exclusively, written by men about men. Not until late in the 20th century, when Germaine Greer penned The Obstacle Race, did a substantial account of the contribution of women artists exist. Those that were noticed fit into neat second rate categories, a student of so and so, or a follower of this or that movement. They were also allowed to do subjects that men wouldn't touch, mothers and infants for instance. There was occasionally someone, like Cecilia Beaux, who painted, they grudgingly acknowledged, as well as any man, or a Georgia O'Keefe who painted with an undeniably feminine vision. Elizabeth Torak, one of the most amazing artists on the contemporary scene, is one of those artists who can't be ignored. Women in Art is a tribute to her unique perspective. She paints women as no man ever has, powerful and independent, bold and confident. Here she is working on a life size group of women called The Maenads. It is a study for a larger piece, The Beat Goes On, a 6' x 7' masterpiece created from imagination and observation without the use of models. It is a unique portrayal, a delicate balance of power and grace, abstraction, design and detail, of the moment yet timeless. Her depiction of men is not the traditional view either. The French Fry Eaters, for example, are full of energy, lusty louts oblivious to their surrounding, they exhibit that raw sexuality so common in young men. It is not the way men see themselves, it is the way a young woman sees young men. For whoever writes the history of art in the late 20th and early 21st centuries Elizabeth Torak is certainly an artist to watch...dynamic, intense, expressive, feminine, unique.....

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