The Female Gaze in Art and Photography by Anita Selzer

The Female Gaze in Art and Photography by Anita Selzer is a new book by the Australian author which chronicles the incredible talent of twenty women in the art scene, and their perspective.

The artists surveyed are; Ilit Azoulay, Del Kathryn Barton, Leslie Batty, Elinor Carucci, Amanda Charchian, Destiny Deacon, Tamara Dean, Esther Erlich, Angèle Etoundi Essamba, Cornelia Hediger, Kate Just, Lebohang Kganye, Kim Leutwyler, Kathrin Longhurst, Julie Rrap, Tomoko Sawada, Laura Stevens, Natasha Wah, Jenny Watson and Nancy Youdelman.

Kate Just, Anonymous Was a Woman, 2019-2021 The National, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Photo: Felicity Jenkins

Of course ‘The Female Gaze’ is not a singular perspective, and this title offers an array of points of view and canvasses ‘issues affecting our lives today: love and loss; lifecycle of women; motherhood; gender, sexual and racial identity; the fractured self; autonomy and agency; strength, resilience and vulnerability; relationships; racism; marginalisation and diversity; feminism; migration and dispossession; and climate change among others.’

The book, which is brimming with wonderful images of artworks and published by Hardie Grant, makes space to connect with, understand and see women through women’s eyes – instead of via the ‘male gaze’ that has been the dominant lens in art history.

Del Kathryn BartonMother (a portrait of Cate), watercolour, gouache, acrylic and pen on polyester canvas, 240 x 180 cm

The title argues ‘The female gaze is not singular; it is multifarious, often based on the creative’s lived experience. It positions subjects as whole people and not objects. The female gaze reclaims women’s bodies as repositories for multiple meanings. It emphasises the emotions of and intimacy between creator and subject, who are at times the same person.’

Selzer has published thirteen non-fiction books for children and adults, with an interest in women and history. She has written about Australian sportswomen who achieved at high levels including the Olympics, girls’ education in Australia; governors’ wives in Australia and the pastoral pioneers of Como House.