Painter Katie Wild’s Portraits Celebrate Strong Women

Inspired by the #MeToo movement, the Newton-based artist creates a series that celebrates female power.

Mary, oil on board, $800,

Katie Wild has always been surrounded by empowering women. Her mother, Laura, for one, homeschooled the Newton-based artist for eight years and enrolled her in programs such as ink drawing and printmaking. “It was formative for me because I was able to explore a lot more of my creative impulses,” Wild says. “[My education] opened up my mind to the possibility of being an artist.”

Years later, the painter (and UMass Dartmouth grad) continues to draw inspiration from female figures. Prompted by the #MeToo movement, Wild created her portrait series “Heroine Addicts” to celebrate the strong women in her life and “take back the narratives that have been thrust upon us,” she says. In her painting Mary, Wild pays tribute to Maine-based painter Mary Hart, whose “superpower,” Wild says, is her creative drive. Inspired by the flora and fauna in Hart’s pieces (think: macroscopic images of moth wings, sunflowers, and dragonflies), Wild dreamed up a verdant backdrop with yellow blooms. Mary’s pose and leafy mask, meanwhile, stem from an untitled collage by American artist Barbara Kruger. In it, the words “We won’t play nature to your culture” surround the face of a woman whose eyes are hidden by leaves. Though Kruger’s work dates back to 1983, the message in her collage remains relevant today. “That’s a strong, empowered female statement,” Wild says. “Women are changing society.”