Five Women Artists

Five Women Artists

If a friend asked you to name the first five artists that come to mind, who would you mention? Maybe Vincent van Gogh? Pablo Picasso? Michelangelo? All of these men are fantastic, renowned artists who drove the evolution of artistic styles in their era. They’re all good choices. But did you think of any female artists amongst the five? Maybe one?

More and more people are beginning to recognize the achievements of female artists, but there’s still work to be done. According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, work by women artists makes up only 3 to 5 percent of major permanent collections in the U.S. and Europe.

As a part of Women’s History Month this March, the NMWA has relaunched their #5WomenArtists social media campaign. This is a promotion to encourage museums and art lovers alike to fill social media outlets with the work of female artists.

Cheekwood is thrilled to partner with the NMWA by showcasing five women artists featured in our collection, and one young woman recently featured in our Scholastic Art Awards Exhibit. Read below to learn more about each of these women and their careers:

Sculpture Trail at Cheekwood

Sophie Ryder (1963- ): Sophie is a London born sculptor. She studied art and gained a diploma in painting at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. It was during this time that she first began experimenting with sculpture. Her sculptural works are largescale and supernatural in nature. She often works in a variety of mediums including sawdust, plaster, old machine parts, sheet metal, marble, and other materials. In addition to sculpture, she is also a skilled printmaker. Her most famous works are large hares with female bodies. A popular representation of this series is in Cheekwood’s permanent collection.


Jenny Holzer (1950- ): Jenny is an American sculptural and projection artist. She often works linguistically, projecting words and phrases in public spaces. She was originally interested in being an abstract painter, and studied art at Duke University. This course of study was followed by painting, printmaking, and drawing at the University of Chicago before receiving a BFA at Ohio University in 1972. In 1976, through the Whitney Museums independent study program, she started working with language to create installations. Her work often emanates a stirring message with a sense of humor and courage.

Soo Sunny Park: Soo Sunny is an American South Korean artist. She was born in Seoul, but moved to the United States at age eleven. She holds a BFA in painting and sculpture, and an MFA in sculpture. After completing her studies, she obtained a residency at Skowegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2000. Her works encompass a variety of mediums to push the boundaries of the imagination in creating sculptures and installation art. Soo Sunny was the 2015 Artist-In-Residence at Cheekwood.

Louise Dahl Wolfe (1895 – 1989): Louise was an American photographer born to Norwegian parents. She became one of the world’s leading fashion photographers of the twentieth century when she began working for Harper’s Bazaar for twenty-two years. She took much inspiration from the history of art to revolutionize the photography standards of the day. Her work was lively and natural and she made two large bequests of her work to Cheekwood in the 1960s and 80s.

Marylyn Dintenfass (1943 – ): Marylyn is an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, and graduated from Queens College with a degree in fine arts. In her early years, she worked with several Abstract Expressionist painters. This exposure helped to form Dintenfass’s Abstract Expressionist/Pop Art style. Although she is experienced in sculpture installations, her greatest popularity lies in oil paintings. Her work utilizes an expressive color palette and lexicon. Thematically, her works explore human experiences and pleasures. During 1966, Dintenfass spent time touring Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome, before landing in Jerusalem where she received her first commission to design the Pop Op Disco. Today, her work has been featured in more than 60 national and international exhibitions, and her work is held by over 30 public collections.

Scholastic Student Feature

Maddison Gabay: As a part of Cheekwood’s community art initiatives, every year an exhibition is hosted that consists of works from local high school artists. The 2018 exhibition features work by artist Maddison Gabay. Maddison is currently a junior at Independence High School and is passionate about the visual arts. She was born in Florida and moved to Tennessee at the age of thirteen. When she was young, she was bullied for many of her traits, but found strength and pride in her identity when she moved to Tennessee. This new start gave her the chance to “emerge from the darkness of depression and low self-esteem and begin a new life filled with hope.” Her work in the 2018 scholastic art competition reminds her that judgment will no longer have the power to change who she really is.

These #5WomenArtists and several others bring unique mediums, talent, and beauty to our collection. We are proud to display some of their work at Cheekwood and very excited to advocate for the acknowledgement of all women artists, past and present.

Are you interested in supporting women artists alongside Cheekwood and the National Museum of Women in the Arts? We encourage you to keep learning about women in the arts, to start conversations with your friends, and to use the hashtag #5WomenArtists to promote this necessary campaign on social media.

Learn more about the NMWA campaign here:

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