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Paulina Olowska: Mainly for Women

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SCAD Museum of Art / Savannah / Art

“I’m tired of calling women ‘strong’ and ‘superwoman,’” the Polish artist Paulina Olowska told Frieze last year, explaining her interest in portraying female figures in vulnerable states. Olowska frequently uses portraiture to illustrate how attitudes and ideologies shift over time, particularly when it comes to gender. Recently, she’s painted retro-style posters showing bikini-clad women; a black-and-white rendering of Olivia Newton-John seen from behind; and oil paintings that mimic 80s catalogue photographs, showing women in chunky sweaters with scrunchies around their wrists. In this exhibition, Olowska plays with the traditionally female role of the homemaker: the title—“Mainly for Women”—comes from a 1960s sex manual, written by a man, that aimed to teach housewives how to increase their sexual pleasure without diminishing their husband’s sense of his own prowess. Olowska upends this notion of the homemaker by ignoring the patriarch, and inviting four emerging female Polish artists to present their works alongside her own. —C.J.F.

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