María Berrío - Town & Country

A new exhibition at Victoria Miro showcases a trio of trailblazing female artists

By Isabel Carr


Linda Nochlin’s seminal 1971 essay, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’, is the inspiration behind the art historian and curator Katy Hessel’s Instagram account @greatwomenartists, founded in 2015, which celebrates creative women through the ages. Now, Hessel has joined forces with Victoria Miro to launch an inspiring new exhibition featuring three female artists – María Berrío, Caroline Walker and Flora Yukhnovich – each of whom reinterprets art history through the perspective of contemporary womanhood.

The Brooklyn-based artist Maria Berrío, who was brought up in Colombia, creates large-scale paintings crafted from layers of Japanese paper that explore themes such as global migration through the lens of her personal history. Berrío’s compositions use rich, bright colours that exude energy and emotional depth.

More subdued, but no less powerful, is the work of the Scottish-born painter Caroline Walker, whose intimate, intensely psychological portraits depict women at work in domestic and public spaces. The viewer becomes an intruder into the private world of each sitter, whether she is a shop assistant, an office worker or a hotel maid.

Flora Yukhnovich’s art hovers on the border between figuration and abstraction. By reimagining the work of Rococo artists such as François Boucher, Nicolas Lancret and Giovanni Battista Tiepelo, she consciously brings classical traditions into a modern and feminine realm, challenging historic representations of the female form through the male gaze.

Collectively, the show presents a powerful challenge to the traditionally masculine language of painting, introducing viewers to three pioneering young female talents.