Leonora Carrington (1917 – 2011) was an English Surrealist painter and novelist and was one of the last surviving members in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s.
Unlike the other Surrealists, she was not interested in Sigmund Freud - but focused rather on personal visionary experience and magical reality. She combined autobiographical material with self-arising symbolism in the subjects of her paintings. She was interested in presenting female sexuality as she experienced it, rather than as the male surrealists’ characterised it. Her work of the 1940s focused on women’s rôle in the creative process.
In 'Self-Portrait' she gives an interpretation of female sexuality through her own sexual experience rather than referencing existing theory. The hyena depicted in 'Self-Portrait' combines male and female as a metaphor for the world of night and dream. The symbol of the hyena is present in many of her later works, and was employed to depict her in Max Ernst's work 'La Debutante' in his book The Oval Lady.
Her book 'The Hearing Trumpet' deals with aging and the female body. It criticises the shaming of the nude female body, and it is one of the first books to tackle the notion of gender identity in the twenty-first century. Her views of sexuality, differ from contemporary feminists in that she sees maternity as a key experience to femininity.
The first important exhibition of her work appeared in 1947, at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York City. She was invited to show her work in an international exhibition of Surrealism, where she was the only female English professional painter. #leonoracarrington #surrealism #femaleartist #artists #englishartist #englishart #weird #odd #strange #surrealists #surrealart #surrealisme #surrealismo #visionaryart