Creative Technology Can Be Disruptive. Just Like Many of the Women Working with It

Oct 2, 2017

Galleries and art fairs are showing a growing array of digital work. This new creative technology can include installation, video, interactive, virtual reality, and forms that are yet to be invented. When speaking to a gallery owner at a recent art fair, it was explained that many children have become so accustomed to touching the interactive art that when they come upon a regular painting they don’t understand why they’re not allowed to touch it.

Yet not all aspects of the art world have experienced such rapid evolution. Nowhere is this clearer than with the lack of gender and racial diversity in the art world.

This is something that countless women, minorities, and allies have been fighting for equality for years.

Historically, and even today, women and other minorities have been under represented in art. Susan Mumford is a gender equality advocate, and author. She operates a gallery in Soho, London and founded the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD). She cites statistics from the National Museum of Women in the Arts including:

  • Work by women artists makes up only three to five percent of major permanent collections in the US;
  • 51% of visual artist today are women and yet on average they earn 81 cents for every dollar that a male does; and
  • ArtReview’s 2016 Power 100 List featured only 32 women.

Mumford also points out that there are fewer women in directorship positions, especially the ones that command the largest budgets.

Artist Colleen Marie Foley, just like many artists today and before her, is taking this uneven playing filed in stride; forging ahead with new forms of creative technology. Foley’s work focuses on the psychological/physical relationship between sublime landscape, digital technology, and the body and the porousness of the membrane that separates them. She encourages artists in the digital realm to play and experiment regardless of whether they have expertise with the technology.

Women still face barriers in this new field of art. Yet Foley and others see women taking up the challenge, pushing and prodding to explore the limits and capabilities of this new frontier. Let’s be clear - there are still obstacles for women. And this struggle is also shared with minorities and other marginalized groups. But one can begin to draw parallels between the disruptive aspect of creative technology and the disruption of traditional gender biases. As women engage with technology, they are able to create new forms of work, enabling greater exposure or their work. Hopefully this new digital realm can help evolve the art world to a place of greater equality for everyone.

This webinar is a must watch! The panelists elaborate a great deal on bias and fairness, as well as technological changes being experienced in the art world. Watch Now!


Matt Beasant

Matt Beasant is a self-taught Canadian artist and experienced writer, born and raised in Northwestern Ontario. Represented by established Canadian Galleries, Matt has exhibited at the Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 2016. His work is characterized by crisp lines and bold gradients which are applied by hand using many thin layers of paint –...

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