Artist Yvette Coppersmith reflects on the art of the portrait through the female gaze.

There are issues of greater concern than painting – the imminent danger of climate change, with a detour of a pandemic. But we rely on images to understand ourselves, and to see where we have come from.

Historically, those who had power to make images have been predominantly white and male. When women made images, they entered an established language and found ways to position themselves within that realm. Increasingly, in the second half of the 20th century, those ways and conventions have been subverted and reimagined by artists. What bodies have signified changes throughout art history, and the contemporary viewer can only interpret from their lived experience and knowledge of historical context. As anyone who has taken a selfie knows, there is always a gap between the lived experience and the image.

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