The Painted Ladies: Five Female Artists to Know

Arts Editor of The Wild Magazine, Kate Messinger, on Women Who Are Reestablishing the Medium of Paint


Consider such living painters as Cecily Brown, Jenny Saville, Tracey Emin, Kara Walker and Amy Sillman. Recognized for the quality of their work rather than what lies beneath their bloomers, these talented women are increasing female visibility in the art world at-large. As always, however, art trends are changing: in recent years painting has come to be viewed as an antiquated, if not completely dead, medium.

But you can always count on the rebels, the next generation expanding a classic medium. A few exceptional, modern female artists are bringing painting back to life in innovative, exciting, and often hilarious ways. From Internet-inspired portraiture to designer bagel bags, these five women are expand painting beyond the canvas and gender binary. In short, they’re making history.

Jeanette Hayes

Jeanette Hayes, Press ESC to Escape, 2013

Meme queen Jeanette Hayes brings the best of the Internet to the Renaissance age with paintings that are at once nostalgic and fresh. She’s an era-clasher — think classical portraits reimagined with Pokémon characters or iPhones in oil on canvas. Through both her insightful work and humorous social media presence (Hayes recently tweeted: “I play keyboard in a band called the Internet”), she approaches art with wide Manga eyes, redrawing the demarcation line between digital and classical as though it never even existed.

Chloe Wise


Chloe Wise’s paintings (as well as her sculptures — see: bagel bag that the Internet thought was a real Chanel) are a satyrical look at both the art and fashion industry. After said carb tricked the Internet, she told Stylite: “Referencing fashion brands in my work, as well as making fake logos for myself or packaging for my ‘products,’ is my way of being transparent vis-a-vis the use of personal branding in millennial culture.” Her painted meta “selfies” are yet another ironic observation of Gen-Y, and it’s through her own self-reflection that viewers inevitably do the same.

Genieve Figgis

Genieve Figgis, Ladies by the sea, 2014 oil on panel

Irish painter Genieve Figgis knows how to capture the beautiful melange of horror and humor that exists somewhere between life and death. Her portraits depict a ghostly, alternate reality. Faces become blurred memories, bodies toggle between modern and historical portraiture, and each image hints at a story that transcends time and space. But there is a slight, wry smile behind those eerie characters, suggesting at a plot twist lingering in the second act.

Sam Moyer


Who said painting needed to be on a canvas, or even look like a painting? Sam Moyer is breaking new grounds with sculptural paintings that re-conceptualize the hard textures of stone and play with the presence (and lack) of hardness. Whether it’s recreating the look of marble with fabrics and bleach, or laying down a giant slab of the real stuff at Rachel Uffner Gallery, Moyer isn’t afraid to expand the art form of painting and get heavy.

Alice Lancaster

Alice Lancaster, Benson & Stabler, 2013 acrylic on canvas

Alice Lancaster paints with a brazen sexuality and true femininity that exists outside the constructs of social conventions, never backing down for fear of offending the masses. You might remember her controversial pro-menstruation American Apparel T-shirt collaboration with friend Petra Collins (the two are involved in the all-female art website The Ardorous), but Lancaster’s work is about more than just shock value. Her slightly augmented portraits are both surreal and recognizable, complicated layers of humanity revealed in every face she paints.

Written by Kate Messinger, Arts Editor of The WILD Magazine. Follow The Wild Magazine on Twitter here, and Kate Messinger here.

Get more Shopping ?
  • I’ve been following Chloe Wise for a while. I love the mix of my two favorite things, food and designer brands..


  • Thanks for sharing!

  • I love when people really think out of the box.

  • LEE @ Modern Granola

    Cool! Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about how creative people can be. It inspires me to think bigger!

  • Some interesting artists! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • xenxen2012

    I want to be a part of them

  • linata

    clhowe wise , i like her
    agen tiket pesawat

  • Eleanor

    Great post, I love art and it’s always good to learn about new ones xx

  • GratefulReader

    Thanx for going in a different direction with art…is art all that different from fashion? With both, you can express yourself thru other’s work with design and art.

  • Charlotte Fassler

    Loving that Benson & Stabler by Alice Lancaster.
    Each of these girls have a unique style that is recognizable which is important in such an oversaturated market like art or fashion. When there is an artist’s work you can look at and quickly ascribe to the person who made it by it’s style, feel, or message that’s a pretty great achievement and I think each of these artist’s has something incredibly distinct about her.

  • Lillian Jane

    Thank you for posting this, some awesome and inspiring female talent. I would love to see more art related articles on MR. they sit so well amongst your fashion and humor pieces

    • Amelia Diamond

      that’s good to know, thanks lillian!!

  • I enjoyed the art they are into. Very interesting.

  • Kristen

    This post was awesome, MR! As an art student, I’m always excited to find new artists that inspire me, and this was great; really loving Chloe Wise and Alice Lancaster’s work!

  • deb

    Thanks for celebrating Women of Art!

  • deb

    Chloe Wise! OMG–the Tampon Series is fabulous, right down to bad manicures on the model’s hands.

  • Peter Finnamore

    Once again, Women are showing the way forward in painting!