One of Yayoi Kusama’s interactive installations—Obliteration Room at the MoCA Shanghai in 2013

When you think of contemporary painters you may not realize how many female artists have made, and are currently making, just as much of an impact. In this article, you will find women who helped change the direction of art and propelled contemporary art to where it is today.

Jenny Saville

This modern female artist has been an internationally acclaimed oil painter for decades due to her powerful, large-scale paintings of the female body. She changed the world of figure painting. This female modern artist challenged the way nude women were painted. The forms she draws are not perfect, but rather exaggerated and dramatic.

Yayoi Kusama

Narcissus Garden silver orbs at the City Hall Chamber, National Gallery Singapore during Yayoi Kusama’s Life is the Heart of a Rainbow exhibition

She is arguably the most famous female artist alive today. Her extensive body of work includes paintings, sculptures, clothing, art objects, performances, and installations.  She has shocked the art world through her “Happenings” or the series of impromptu public performances that she organized that addressed socio-political issues.

Ida Applebroog

She created powerful paintings that speak volumes about violence, sexuality, and gender politics. This modern female artist started gaining momentum in the 70s thanks to her unique style. It is full of broken images that seemed cartoony and slightly unsettling.

Emmi Whitehorse

Emmi Whitehorse is a Native American modern famous female artist. She has inspired others through her soft abstract paintings. Her art reflects her passion for nature. Her paintings deliberately do not address any political movements or messages. This modern female artist creates works that allow the viewer to get lost and find a quiet place within them to retreat.

Jane Frank

This modern female artist’s abstract expressionist landscapes take you to another world. Her work is full of vibrant colors, rich textures, and abstract forms that formed airy landscapes. To enhance the feel of each painting, she mixed other materials such as pebbles and broken glass.

Marlene Dumas

This South African painter is one of the most modern famous female artists. Bright works of Marlene Dumas allow you to look into her childhood. She is known for using brushstrokes that emphasize movement. This modern female artist paints with light and translucent paints. Her paintings feel surreal. They are full of ghostly figures that seem like they are born from a distant memory.

Jo Baer

The female modern artist helped bring attention to the minimalist art movement. She is known for her deceivingly simple pieces. This contemporary artist is known for her use of symbols, geometry, and bold contrasts. Through her work, Jo Baer has explored feminism, the cosmos, and our connection to the environment.


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