Artist Juliet Gilden Showcasing Bold, Courageous Women In Her Paintings

Juliet Gilden | Malala Yousafzai

By Juliet Gilden

My mother consisted of an unlikely mix of traits. Her personality was filled with opposite aspects that combined to make one powerhouse of a woman. All at once she was graceful, beautiful, and coquettish while also possessing immense professional drive, personal strength, and fearlessness. She graduated high school early and then enrolled in college a college of the arts at a time when only 23% of American women received Bachelor degrees.

She relocated to New York City with my soon-to-be father to paint on the streets in front of the art museums. Eventually, the couple came back to Baltimore, Maryland to get married, open their own art gallery, and to create a family.  I came into the world watching my mother paint daily and seeing some of the best artwork that the city of Baltimore had to offer from both my mother and from many of her friends and fellow artists.

Juliet Gilden | Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It was not long before I also wanted to draw and paint. With intense curiosity, I took in my mother’s ability to create original images and to have the bravery to present them to the world. I watched her figure out a way to make a living from a career that appeared impossible. I observed her doing what she wanted with her life regardless of her gender or other people’s view of what female conventionality should look like. She was a mother who bestowed upon me paintings and prints from artists as rewards for my successes.

She painted with me, discussed the art world, took me to galleries and endlessly encouraged me in my creative efforts. She planned a surprise 21st birthday party for me that featured my own work, hanging in her gallery, for our friends and family to look at and enjoy throughout the evening.  Every inch of space was filled with my work which had been meticulously and artfully framed by my parents for all of my friends to see.  Maybe it’s not too sexy to say, but on my 21st birthday I felt museum quality.

Juliet Gilden and her mother

It was because of this confidence and model of female freedom provided to me from my mother that I choose to spend my days as an artist. After years working for advertising agencies, two years ago I decided to abandon the safety and lack of fulfillment of that career and to focus solely on my painting. Now I wake up excited every day ready to embrace the life I’ve been given to take images of my mind and bring them to life on canvas. In acrylics, My emotions and inner thoughts are animated on canvas; love, joy, disappointment, and hope. The feelings that most women experience at different times in their lives are my material. I communicate these thoughts through my composition, subject matter and color choices. 

Juliet Gilden | Zora Neale Hurston

Painting is my language, the brush is my writing implement, and the canvas is my page. Everything I want to convey, all that I want the world to see and know about me is exposed in pigment, shape, and light. An exaggerated neck stretching down to the ground combined with large turned down eyes help to articulate sadness and dismay while outstretched limbs, bare feet and intertwined fingers are nods to free spiritedness and desire. Bright colors are my sense of hope and optimism popping out even when portraying the most distressful of scenes.

To me, art is the language of bold thoughts, perspectives and feelings. It is the opposite of repression. I was fortunate indeed that my mother had me taught me her particular way to be bilingual. 

Juliet Gilden | Frida Painting Diego

Juliet Gilden

Juliet Gilden is an artist who primarily paints acrylics on paper and canvas. Her studio is located in Baltimore, and she was trained at the famed, Maryland Institute College of Art. Juliet’s free-form style reinterprets reality on her own loose terms, showing the world she sees as sunny, funny and optimistic. She is Influenced by an eclectic mix of styles and artists  — everything from surrealism to realism, Bottecelli to Botero. Mostly, however, she is inspired by the works of her own mother, Miriam Bransky Gilden, a respected professional artist of more than 60 years before she passed away in October 2013. Juliet’s subjects include women at their most vulnerable and powerful, animals — both domestic and wild, astrology, and social justice.  





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