Painting gender and space: Aspects of contemporary female painting practice in context

Majella Clancy, Louise Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This is a co-authored journal article which examines contemporary feminine painting practice across race, gender and national idenitity. The authors are Majella Clancy and Louise Wallace. The research imperative is the result of Clancy’s PhD studies. I am the second supervisor for Clancy’s PhD. Clancy is the lead author of this article. I had a consultancy role and also revised and re-wrote sections from Clancy’s drafts. The journal ‘Women’s Studies; An Interdisciplinary Journal’ is peer reviewed and provides a forum for the presentation of scholarship and criticism about women in the fields of literature, history, art, sociology, law, political science, economics, anthropology and the sciences. It is published internationally (online and in print) by Routledge and the editor is Wendy Martin, Claremont Graduate University, California. The article focuses on 3 female painters: the Irish mixed-media artist Majella Clancy, the African-American painter Ellen Gallagher and the Pakistani born, American based painter Shahzia Sikander. The journal article may therefore be placed within the field occupied by feminist art historians such as Professor Griselda Pollock and feminist social geographers such as Professor Catherine Nash. The article uses feminist methodologies and re-examines themes from my V.C.R.S. funded doctoral thesis (2007) in its examination of aesthetic modernism and its failure to articulate those voices which do not fit the binarist framework of the art historical canon. The article suggests that the three female painters unravel modernist histories through the language of paint. In the recent book ‘Contemporary Painting in Context’ (Museum Tusculanum Press 2010) the cultural theorist Anne Ring Petersen argues that ‘painters have begun to explore the possibilities of broadening the definition of what constitutes “space” in relation to painting’. Ring Peterson refers to a physical expansion that addresses three-dimensional, or installation painting. The articles seeks to address two-dimensional space in contemporary women’s painting. In particular it explores the possibility of a differing spatial order within paint that is constructed at the intersection of cultural and sexual difference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-975
JournalWomen's Studies
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 8 Nov 2012


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