The Ladies: Engineering, 2012. Flashe on paper. 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Packer Schopff Gallery, Chicago.

Madison, WI


In her recent series of paintings, Nancy Mladenoff explores the careers of earlier generations of women who lived during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Through this interrogation of America’s gendered landscape, she exposes the significant absence of women in our collective visual culture. In areas such as war, science, sports, nature, and music, Mladenoff presents images of real women engaged in professions from which they were largely marginalized: a survey crew poses together with leveling instruments on tripods; a home-guard team stands at-the-ready with rifles in hand; a herpetologist examines a snake and two turtles. Although the artist offers an encouraging portrayal of self-possessed women, she paints in a faux-naïve style that hints at the anti-heroic. In cleverly juxtaposing style and content, Mladneoff calls attention to the omission of the heroic female in American history.


Nancy Mlandenoff received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. She is a Professor of Art in the Art Department of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she has taught since 1999. Mladenoff's most recent exhibitions have been at the Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago and the McKinley Arts and Culture Center in Reno, Nevada. She has shown nationally and internationally. In 2011, the Arts Institute of the University of Wisconsin–Madison awarded her the distinguished Emily Mead Baldwin Award in the Creative Arts.