On June 8th, a new exhibit curated by Tor’s own Irene Gallo and Orbit Books’ Lauren Panepinto opens at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, turning a spotlight on the incredibly rich array of science fiction and fantasy art created by women, from established icons in the field to new and upcoming artists. Point of Vision: Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction will run until August 20th; the opening reception is June 10th and is open to the public.
When people think of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre, they often think of it as a male-dominated field, both in authorship and art. However, women have always been a critical part of the genre, and have often brought a slightly different point of view to the way that they create around the themes of myth, heroism, science, and futurism. Mary Shelley wrote one of the first, if not the first, science fiction books in Frankenstein. For every Tolkien there is an Ursula K. Le Guin. For every Frank Herbert, an Octavia Butler.
When we think of Science Fiction and Fantasy art, it is often names like Frazetta and Hildebrandt that come first to mind. All throughout the art history of the genre, however, you have women such as Kinuko Craft, Mary Blair, Julie Bell, and many more who have been creating their own visual worlds and illustrating the worlds created by authors, filmmakers, and game designers. For the first time, the work of women in this genre will be exhibited together in Point of Vision: Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction.
We have chosen to exhibit these women artists together to propose that although both men and women have always created art in the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy, women inherently have a slightly different point of view, a unique way of internalizing the themes and stories and then creating visuals imbued with their perspective. It would be a mistake, however, to say that art created by women is automatically “feminine”—in this exhibit, the viewer will see that there are as many different definitions of “woman artist” as there are women creating art.
This generation of Science Fiction and Fantasy fans have made a mission of expanding inclusivity in the genre, in books, comics, films, and gaming. There are more women fans than ever before, and they are seeking out and acknowledging the women creators that have always been involved, but have sometimes existed slightly outside the spotlight. The Society of Illustrators is proud to be exhibiting not only the established icons of the genre, but also showcasing the new generation of women artists working with fantasy themes. As you’ll see from the exhibit, many of these women enjoy playing with the genre standards that their forebears defined, and take a fluid approach to not only the genre, but to the crossover between illustration and fine art.
If you’re going to be in the New York area, please join us at the opening reception on Friday, June 10th, or visit the exhibit and explore on your own through August 20th!