Artist Jen Ray presents a fantasy world full of strong warrior-women in her newly released book, Ain’t We Got Fun. With 80 pages full of powerful heroines—who are often depicted in battle—the hardcover volume is eye candy in book form. Gorgeous and saturated with color, each piece is a tribute to the Goddesses of Ray’s imagination. They are sexy but not sexualized, and proudly rule their battlefield landscapes together and as individuals.
In an interview featured in the book with art and fashion critic Ana Finel Honigman, Ray approaches the conceptualizations of her characters and the significance of their existence, saying, “I don’t want to show a woman being subservient. There are certain poses that I avoid—I’m into empowerment. It’s a somewhat cheesy word but I’m showing these women as powerful people who know their own minds. They know what they want and they are out to get it, whatever that might be. I don’t judge them.”
Power and femininity, concepts toyed with in Ray’s paintings, are exposed through the aggressive posing and weapon-filled paintings, as well as her performance-art pieces, which are also featured in the book. “I’m not into mere ‘power.’ It is more complex and multi-layered than that…the women in my paintings are something like alter-egos. I think a lot of artists are voyeurs and they create characters to represent something that they want to do in life. That to me is a type of empowerment as well.”
Ray’s work has been shown in museums and galleries in cities including New York, Berlin, and Paris. Ain’t We Got Fun is an overview of art created over the past seven years that includes drawings and performances as well as new works, and can be found online here.
Images via Gestalten