top of page

INSPIRATIONAL ARTIST #2: Art and Feminism 2

Art and Feminism #2

Art is art, as I stated in my previous blog. A woman who expresses herself through art and wishes to be recognized as an artist found it extremely difficult up till the mid-20th century. Being gaslighted, overshadowed, or ignored has been the issue for women in the arts up till very recently. There have been women artists over the centuries. Some even became quite prominent. But they were few and far between. They always had a firm supportive male patron, being it father, husband or lover. As the 20th century evolved so did the recognition and acceptance of women in the arts. Artists that happen to be women. Women as individuals that bring and contribute their unique style and story to the arts.

“Early Morning in My Studio” – Photograph @All Rights Reserved to Barbara Adler 2021

Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo were two prominent women artists at the beginning to mid-20th century. They knew, appreciated and supported each other, though the extent of their relationship is somewhat of speculation (I will have leave to the biographers). I wish to relate to their art only. Their unique individual styles and personalities seem very transposed. They inspired me as a young artist and continue to do so today.

They did have quite a bit in common. Obviously, their love of art (and nature). Both had long-involved relationships with successful male artists much older than them. Georgia O’Keeffe with the American photographer Alfred Stieglitz, Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera the prominent Mexican artist and muralist. Another common denominator was their desire to be free of social conceptions, norms and expectations, both as women and as artists. Both artists developed a symbolistic picturesque style that expressed their immanent language into art form.

Kahlo used her disabilities, pains and illnesses as her means of narrative, expression, metaphors and symbols in her art. Her art is an expression of freedom that she strived and thrived for. Though Kahlo was often overshadowed by her famous partner, she continued to believe in herself and in her art. She developed a painterly, symbolistic, surreal style uniquely hers. No doubt influenced by the French and Spanish surrealists mixed with the naïve picturesque Mexican folklore, color palate and landscapes.

Georgia O’Keeffe was more introverted than Kahlo. Long walks in nature, drawing in the wild on her own, taking in the landscape and nature that was her base. A reflection of an American landscape and experience that was soon to disappear. Zooming in and enlarging an object/ a flower appears to be an influence taken from the world of photography. The bold use of color and the enlargement of the objects makes for an almost surrealistic approach to the subject. Moving the spectators from their place of comfort, drawing them into a new encompassing world of shape and color.

“Flowers” – Digital Illustrations of Photographs - @All Rights Reserved to Barbara Adler 2021

The various symbols that appear in my artworks, the snail, the shoreline, fish, eyes, pipes and balloons are symbolic of my own life and personal story. They are at once bold and gentle. Due to these trail-blazing artists, I was shown a possible way to tell my own visual story. To be exposed and cloaked as in poetry. Leaving interpretation to the speculators, biographers and art lovers alike.

“Hammer Head”, Acrylic on Canvas Board, 30/23 cm @All Rights Reserved to Barbara Adler 2021

When I paint, I tell my story. When one buys an artwork, those motifs become open to new interpretation. The new meanings of the artwork belong to the beholder and to the observer of the artwork, giving it a new life, a new story.

All the works on this blog are for sale and are Barbara Adler originals. I love talking about my art, so feel free to contact me regarding my art and possibly making it yours.

Take a break, reflect and delve into my art, to my stories on my website:

Or follow me on:


bottom of page