Painting gender and space: contemporary women's painting in context

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores aspects of contemporary women’s painting practice. It investigates cultural, geographical, social and pictorial space across representations of class, gender and race. It begins with an examination of modernist histories through the language of paint. Modernist codes of sexual and cultural difference are interrogated and disrupted allowing for alternative readings of gender, culture, race and painting practices. It examine concepts of space and time found in modernist and postmodernist theory and proposes strategies in paint that collapse boundaries and categorisations, creating a space in-between canonical meaning and definitions allowing for oscillating feminine positions and perspectives.

This research focuses on two women painters as case studies – the African-American painter Ellen Gallagher and the Pakistani-born, American-based painter Shahzia Sikander. Selected works from their practice are analysed alongside my own painting practice where links are established and variances highlighted, thus reflecting a contemporary understanding of women’s painting in a global context. My thesis proposes feminist strategies in painting whereby cross-cultural exchange and multiple visual strategies are employed to signify new terms and conditions for contemporary women’s painting.
Date of Award1 Jun 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLouise Wallace (Supervisor) & Liam Kelly (Supervisor)


  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Gender Theory
  • Feminist Theory
  • Postmodern
  • Postcolonialism

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