Sylvia Sleigh

    Attributes

    • Female

    Galleries

    About the artist

    1916: Was born in Llandudno, Gwynedd, Wales.
    2010: She died, aged 94, in New York City.

    Sleigh was born in Llandudno, Gwynedd, Wales. After studying at the Brighton School of Art, she had her first solo exhibition in 1953 at the Kensington Art Gallery.

    She married Lawrence Alloway, an art critic, before moving to the United States in the early 1960s when he became a curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

    Around 1970, from feminist principles, she painted a series of works reversing stereotypical artistic themes by featuring naked men in poses usually associated with women. Some directly alluded to existing works, such as her gender-reversed version of Ingres's The Turkish Bath (the reclining man is her husband, Lawrence Alloway).Philip Golub Reclining alludes similarly to the Rokeby Venus by Velázquez.

    Other works equalize the roles of men and women, such as the 1976 Concert Champetre, in which all the characters are nude, unlike its similarly composed namesake by Titian (sometimes credited to Giorgione), in which only the women are. She comments on her works: "I feel that my paintings stress the equality of men & women (women & men). To me, women were often portrayed as sex objects in humiliating poses. I wanted to give my perspective. I liked to portray both man and woman as intelligent and thoughtful people with dignity and humanism that emphasized love and joy".

    In 2007, in an interview with Brian Sherwin for Myartspace, Sylvia Sleigh was asked if gender equality issues in the mainstream art world, and the world in general, had changed for the better. Sleigh answered, "I do think things have improved for women in general there are many more women in government, in law and corporate jobs, but it's very difficult in the art world for women to find a gallery". According to Sylvia there is still more that needs to be done in order for men and women to be treated as equals in the art world.

    In November 2009,Sleigh exhibited 12 portraits dating from 1961-79, many of which were being shown for the first time in decades, at 1-20 Gallery.

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