“Women Can’t Paint”: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art

My new book with I.B. Tauris, forthcoming. To be added to the mailing list, please get in touch on drhelengorrill@hotmail.com. #womencantpaint. Here’s the blurb:

Artist Georg Baselitz recently declared that women simply cannot paint, and we are told by influential art critics that women are incapable of aesthetic greatness. Artworld discrimination is rife, and a myriad of descending glass ceilings mean that today’s female artists are even less likely to succeed now than they were in the nineties. This book cuts speculation and evidences that there are few aesthetic differences in the work of women and men, yet women’s artwork can fetch up to 80 per cent less than men’s. The brand of masculinity is so powerful that when work is signed by a male artist it goes up in value, yet work signed by a female artist goes down in value. Museums are complicit in collecting disproportionate and tokenist female artwork which impacts upon the artist’s market values, yet our great institutions display work by the Guerrilla Girls to create the illusion of equality support.  Older women artists, especially, are struggling for visibility as their appearance is often judged above the artwork itself, while younger female artists create their own eventual demise through promoting youth and sexualized selfies.  A vicious cycle suggests the artworld is spinning out of control: women are failing to support one and other and the Queen Bee’s sting is deadly. This artworld exposé is a groundbreaking, controversial and provocative text, challenging many existing methodologies and theories, and introducing startling new ones. It evidences how the price of being a woman artist – the cost of one’s gender – is shown to run deep through the ascribed values throughout all forms of artistic currency; the social, symbolic and economic. Women Can’t Paint is certain to stir up the position for female artists and those who collect their work – or who may start doing so after reading this book.


Our book is out!

book coverCollective and Collaborative Drawing in Contemporary Practice: Drawing Conversations – a book I have co-edited with Professor Jill Journeaux, has been published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.  The book includes contributions by key scholars in the area: Brew & Journeaux, Rogers, Casey & Davies, Harty & Sawdon, Hodson, Baker & Foster, Shepley, Barker, Stokes, Chow, Wright and Neil.

The book follows our inaugural conference Drawing Conversations 1, held at Coventry University in 2015.  The next conference Drawing Conversations 2: Body, Space, Place takes place on 7th December 2017 with a keynote from Marsha Meskimmon. A new volume of the book stems from this event (2019).




Call for Papers – Drawing Conversations 2: Body, Space, Place


A one-day symposium with key note by Professor Marsha Meskimmon

Friday 8th December 2017

The Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE), Coventry University Technology Park, Puma Way CV1 2NE, UK.

Lead conveners: Professor Jill Journeaux, Dr Helen Gorrill, Dr Imogen Racz, Dr Sara Reed.


Papers are invited for this one-day symposium intended to consider interrelationships of drawing, body, space and place. At the heart of this will be the body acting as the conduit between interior and exterior, private and public. Drawing in this sense can therefore be elastic in definition, from two-dimensional mark making, to more spatial languages that might involve capturing movement, three-dimensional drawing, or indeed understanding the processes of making the movement, mark or gesture. How do these gestures make meaning? What impulses from a particular space or place impelled the drawing? What is the relationship of the final work to a space or place?

Twenty-minute papers are invited from practitioners, historians and theoreticians. They can include projects undertaken, or be about particular works or ideas by others.


What happens when we draw with or from the body? How is conversation formed and understood?

How is the mark or gesture suggestive of a response to place?

How is the notion of the individual reshaped within a collective or collaborative drawing process?

Gender, drawing conversations and collaborations: what is the nexus of feminism, drawing and connectivity?

Exploring gendered spaces through drawing or performing the mark, such as the body and home, or, the body within ‘public’ spaces – that might be places of exclusion/inclusion at particular times.

Choreography as drawing with and from the body

Performative drawing: Witness or viewer?

The body and the breath.

Redrawing the body for well-being.

This is not an exhaustive list so if you have an idea that does not easily fit into this list and you are unsure about submitting a proposal please feel free to contact Jill Journeaux at: j.journeaux@coventry.ac.uk to discuss your proposal.

Following on from the success of Drawing Conversations 1 which took place in December 2015, and the book Drawing Conversations: Collective and Collaborative Drawing in Contemporary Practice, due to be published in Spring 2018, we intend to apply for a second publication. If you wish to be considered for a future publication, please make this clear in your proposal and ensure that you submit a full-length proposal of 700-750 words.

All proposals for papers will be peer reviewed. Please submit a proposal of up to 750 words outlining your paper/ presentation, including 6 keywords and a title. Include your name and address, email address and institutional affiliation if appropriate.

Please send the proposals to Dr Helen Gorrill at: gorrillh@coventry.ac.uk.  The closing date for receipt of proposals is Friday 15th September 2017.

Exciting news:

We are delighted to announce our keynote speaker is Marsha Meskimmon, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History & Theory at Loughborough University. With Amelia Jones, Marsha co-edits the Manchester University Press series, Rethinking Art’s Histories, the successor to the well-received series, Critical Perspectives in Art History, she co-edited with Shearer West and Tim Barringer. With Phil Sawdon, she co-edits the Creative Text section of the on-line arts magazine Stimulus → Respond. She is a consultant editor for the Open Arts Journal and, with Dr. Russell Marshall and Phil Sawdon, a general editor of the new series Drawing In (I.B. Tauris).  Prof. Meskimmon has published widely, including the books Drawing Difference: Connections Between Gender and Drawing (Meskimmon & Sawdon 2016), Performance Art in Eastern Europe Since 1960 (Bryzgel & Meskimmon 2017), and Women Making Art: History, Subjectivity, Aesthetics (2012).


At the Rijksmuseum: skip the queues, see the collection, indulge in the gothic vibe!


gothic modernisms jpgSkip the queues!  Don’t forget Gothic Modernisms offers free entry to the fabulous and extensive Rijksmuseum collections as well as an unmissable private visit to the exquisite exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Miniatures PLUS a drinks reception at the Van Gogh museum.  It isn’t too late to register – please follow the link for this one-off opportunity.  World-class speakers, networking, a masterclass, and more.  Excellent student discount available – please get in touch for more details!  29/30 June 2017.

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At the Rijksmuseum: skip the queues, see the collection, indulge in the gothic vibe! — GOTHIC MODERNISMS

Skip the queues! Don’t forget Gothic Modernisms offers free entry to the fabulous and extensive Rijksmuseum collections as well as an unmissable private visit to the exquisite exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Miniatures PLUS a drinks reception at the Van Gogh museum. It isn’t too late to register – please follow the link for this one-off […]

via At the Rijksmuseum: skip the queues, see the collection, indulge in the gothic vibe! — GOTHIC MODERNISMS

Trending Gothics


In the ‘Gothic Modern’ frame …  bold insights into art, cultural encounter and memory-making – discover Gothic afterlives; Gothic cultural identities on the move … Gothic visual cultures as national belonging; uncanny artistic doubles … rooted and migrating communities … new angles on Gothic modern Nordic noir, and MORE — destination Rijksmuseum, 29-30 June… Be part of it!juliet 1juliet 2

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Gothic Panic and Play

Don’t miss this fantastic event. If you’re unable to make it, keep an eye on http://www.gothicmodernisms.wordpress.com for upcoming networks/publications.


Upcoming Gothic Modernisms conference, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 Don’t miss out on the latest…  Gothic panic and play in architecture, uncanny interiors, revivals and alterities, neo-Gothic cathedrals in SE Asia, reimagined nationalisms, Nordic heritage expeditions, Gothic passion;  disruptive spectral identities, Motor-Flight, Virgin-Dynamos and travelling Gothics; avant-gardes in war-time, and more…

29/30 June 2017 – don’t miss out: book now!

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Gothic Modernisms – Amsterdam event — GOTHIC MODERNISMS

Are you visiting Amsterdam 29/30 June? If you’re looking for an exciting cultural event, here is Gothic Modernisms – an EXCITING 2-day international conference at the Rijksmuseum. All welcome! A fantastic student discount is available and conference fee includes museum entry, great speakers, masterclass and refreshments with a closing drinks reception at the Van Gogh Museum. […]

via Gothic Modernisms – Amsterdam event — GOTHIC MODERNISMS