Women of Wonder
A new collection of the finest minds currently working in fantasy and sci-fi art – irrespective of gender
Tthat such a thing should need to be pointed out at all in 2015 is unfortunate, but purely for any kneejerk genderphobes out there, there’s no need to fear. Cathy Fenner has not put together this collection of work from women artists as some kind of unlikely attempt to finally overthrow the patriarchy and end the clueless domination of men after millennia of civilisation mismanagement.
Fenner states in her introduction that this is a celebration of contemporary women artists in the fantasy field, people who have triumphed in a competitive industry irrespective of gender. And what a quality celebration it is, as we have come to expect from Underwood, the publishers that launched the trailblazing Spectrum art collections.
Coming from those famous supporters of fantastic sketchers, it’s fundamentally a showcase for 60 or so notable names. Many ImagineFX regulars are included, such as Terryl Whitlatch, Cynthia Sheppard and Mélanie Delon – in fact there’s even an ImagineFX cover in there!
Every name (or partnership) is given a spread, so we don’t get a wide array of work from each, rather a single image they feel best represents their work and a quote – varying from a sentence to a manifesto – on how they feel about their place in the art world. Long-gone female pioneers such as Margaret Brundage, ‘Queen of Pulp Pin-up Art’ are also represented, with carefully chosen quotes to show what made them great.
There’s a wide array of practitioners included, and many have hugely opposing attitudes to their work, and even to this book. Like most areas of our culture, the male skew on fantasy, folklore and sci-fi has barely been questioned before, so it’s good to see ‘visual storytellers’ with different tales to tell, telling them so expressively – be it Kei Acedera’s charming sea monster, LD Austin’s steel-plated Warrior Queen (left), or Lisa Falkenstern’s comical pig rider. Each spread leaves you wanting more.
As a snapshot of women on the visual fantasy scene in 2015, Women of Wonder is the first such book to focus on this one artistic group and a collection many will cherish.
Fantasy paintings by Laurie Lee Brom (left) and LD Austin are included in the book.
American artist Rebecca Léveillé-Guay’s tender painting has clear Renaissance influences.