When people think of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre they often think of it as a male-dominated field, both in authorship and art. However, women have always been a critical part of the genre, and have often brought a slightly different point of view to the way that they create around the themes of myth, heroism, science, and futurism. Mary Shelley wrote one of the first, if not the first science fiction books in Frankenstein. For every Tolkien there was an Ursula K. LeGuin. For every Frank Herbert an Octavia Butler. When we think of Science Fiction and Fantasy Art, it is often the names like Frazetta and Hildebrandt that come first to mind. However, all along through the art history of the genre you have women such as Kinuko Craft, Mary Blair, Julie Bell, and many more who have been creating their own visual worlds and illustrating the worlds of authors, filmmakers, and game designers. For the first time, the work of women in this genre will be exhibited together in Point of Vision: Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction at the Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators.
We have chosen to exhibit these women artists together to propose that although both men and women have always created art in the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy, women inherently have a slightly different point of view, a unique way of internalizing the themes and stories and then creating visuals imbued with their perspective. However it would be a mistake to say that art created by women is automatically “feminine” — in this exhibit the viewer will see that there are as many different definitions of “woman artist” as there are women creating art.
This generation of Science Fiction and Fantasy fans have made a mission of greater inclusion in the genre, in books, comics, films, and gaming. There are more women fans than ever before, and they are seeking out and highlighting the women creators that have always been involved, but perhaps slightly outside the spotlight. At the Society of Illustrators we are proud to be exhibiting not only the established icons of the genre, but also showcasing the new generation of women artists working with fantasy themes. As you’ll see from the exhibit, many of these women enjoy playing with the genre standards that their forebears defined, and take a fluid approach to not only the genre, but the crossover between illustration and fine art.
This exhibit is curated by Irene Gallo and Lauren Panepinto.
An Opening Reception will be held on Friday, June 10th.