Author Archives: wordsforpictures

Student Review: UNDEREXPOSED – A Tribute to Female Artists

We are please to launch a new series of articles written by our History and Philosophy of Art students in response to our current exhibitions. This inaugural entry comes from Nigel Ip, a second-year HPA student, whose particular Art History interests include the Italian Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites and Conceptual Art. You can find more of his writing here: http://nigelartreviews.wordpress.com/.

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UNDEREXPOSED: A Tribute to Female Artists

Nigel Ip

In the space of ten seconds, how many female artists can you think of?

Now repeat the same exercise but with male artists…

Off the top of my head I counted four female artists – Artemisia Gentileschi, Barbara Hepworth, Marina Abramović and Tracey Emin – and about seven male artists – Raphael, Michelangelo, Velázquez, Damien Hirst, Rubens, Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso.

You can do the same exercise over and over again and still find more male artists than their counterparts.

Female artists in general have been under-represented throughout art history. Art-making and the training that preceded it was an intensely expensive activity. Those women artists who did succeed were usually from wealthy backgrounds, whether through marriage or inheritance. In other cases, the lack of female artists was largely due to gender biases in society and also the dismissing of their work as ‘craft’ rather than ‘fine art’. It is precisely this that UNDEREXPOSED takes as its starting point. Through the medium of print, it attempts to elevate and shed light on the work of female artists, past and present.

The works are almost entirely by artists of the 20th century and the present day given the relatively limited availability of older works accessible by curators and University of Kent students Lynne Dickens and Frances Chiverton. However, a wonderful print of a Holy Family (c. 1575) by Diana Ghisi did make it into the show under the generosity of Dr Ben Thomas. Ghisi, also known as Diana Scultori, was an Italian Renaissance engraver who is recorded as being the first female artist allowed to sell her own work under her own name. The inclusion of this print stands out as a historically significant statement amongst the rest of the works that women artists did exist and succeed before the 19th century.

Just around the corner of the same wall are two prints by Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, kindly lent from the Victoria & Albert Museum Print Collection. Both artists were deeply involved with the Impressionists during the late 19th century, the former being well acquainted with Édouard Manet, the latter with Edgar Degas. Thematically, their work focuses on the culturally restricted lives of women, evident in Morisot’s choice of domestic settings and Cassatt’s specific interest in mothers and children as subjects. Unlike their male counterparts, these women provide us with a glimpse of women’s private lives from the perspective of one who is also restricted by the same rules as imposed by society. These artists have empathy for their subjects. You can almost feel their unspoken pain in the vacant expression of the fan-holding subject in Cassatt’s Tea (1890).

This exhibition attempts to provide the viewer with a small sample that displays the richness and variety of ideas and techniques exploited by these artists. Towards the latter end of the 20th century we have seen a flourish of successful women artists. Royal Academicians like Anne Desmet – whose Babel Tower in Pieces (1999) is one of three pieces in the exhibition – are examples of women’s recognition within the art world – and society – as artists worthy of praise. Tracey Emin’s appointment in 2011 as one of two Professors of Drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts since its founding is proof of this. One of her autobiographical prints proudly hangs in the foyer of the School of Arts building beside an edition of the Guerrilla Girls’ Do Women STILL Have to be Naked to Get Into the Met. Museum? (2012).

Artists exhibited in the show include Kent University alumni Dawn Cole whose solar plate etchings allude to pieces of white lace. Her series Reading Between the Lines take passages from a diary written by her great aunt during her time as a WW1 Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse. The diary records some of the wartime horrors and incidents at the hospital, and passages like “Men had their eyes removed” are interwoven into the lace-like patterns of Cole’s work.

Gwen Raverat proved to be a fast favourite at the private view, while others took interest in Barbara Hepworth’s minimalist lithographs and screenprints. Charlotte Cornish’s vivid abstractions raised a few eyebrows too, and what a pleasure it was to see some of Bridget Riley’s works – Frieze (2000), Two Blues (2003), Composition with Circles (no. 5) (2005) – whose conceptions are always made with the medium in mind, taking into account their size and effect on the viewer.

However, big names like Sarah Lucas weren’t necessarily the most popular as evidenced by Lucy Farley’s silkscreen print To the Lighthouse, Ile de Re (2013) – directly opposite the former’s Squab Squaw (2011) and Sarah Hardacre’s openly controversial screenprints of women in urban settings – generating much discussion among visitors to the exhibition. Farley studied BA Fine Art in 2001 at Central St. Martins and specialised in printmaking at the Royal College of Art in 2007. She is currently undergoing a fellowship at the Royal Academy of Arts and she has exhibited in several small-scale group shows over the years. The subject of her work is usually urban and rural locations with a great degree of expressiveness, bold use of black lines and atmospheric choice of colours, contrasting very well with the almost photographic quality of Alison Wilding’s lithographs of Starlings (2005).

For figurative art there is a concentrated display of prints by Eileen Cooper, Anita Klein and Ana Maria Pacheco. These prints have a particular focus on women with the first two often incorporating the same figure in a large body of work. Cooper’s linocuts tend to be psychological at first glance – some might say surreal, others even Freudian. Their content is a mix between fantasy and reality with titles like The Moon, The Bird and The Bride (1992) and Walking on Air (2005). Her recurring figure is a naked woman. Klein, on the other hand, uses a clothed figure. Her themes often revolve around the idea of beauty in art and everyday life such as nature, romance, family and birds. The prints displayed in the exhibition – The Goddess of the Pear Tree (2013) and The Spider (2013) – are part of the former category. In an interview in 2011, Klein said that she “grew up with a very strong sense of possibility of everything being taken away…I know that what I would miss are the very small things like having breakfast with my family, cleaning our teeth together… not holidays or birthdays or the photo-album version of life. Not the things we record but things that go past, slip through our fingers, things we don’t manage to enjoy”. It is in the ordinary in which we find the most happiness and create the most memories.

This exhibition has a certain lightness to it, perhaps due to the variety of its displays. A range of techniques and media are explored here – woodcuts, linocuts, screenprinting, photo-etching, engraving – and the content is just as diverse – people, houses, sea, sky, nature, society, abstract forms – and it keeps on going. Not only does this show women’s freedom in exploiting the possibilities of art-making but also the analogous diversity in printmaking itself when compared to painting or sculpture. From a method used to allow artists to advertise and promote their art, as cheap reproductions of paintings – or labour-intensive equivalents to present-day postcards – to the idea of prints as a medium and original work of art in its own right. The exhibition is a celebration of women’s recognition in the art world and printmaking’s infinite possibilities; two understated aspects of society combined to create something beautiful and perhaps even moving.

UNDEREXPOSED: Female artists and the medium of print runs until 19th June 2014 at Studio 3 Gallery, University of Kent, Canterbury, blogs.kent.ac.uk/studio3gallery.

 

 

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Underexposed poster FINAL small

UNDEREXPOSED – SERIES OF TALKS

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FREE lectures by leading experts – guarantee your seat today or it may be standing room only!
Making a difference. Women artists as printmakers by Gill Saunders, Senior Curator (Prints), Victoria & Albert Museum
Saturday, 17 May 2014 from 10:30 to 12:00
Paula Rego as Printmaker by Paul Coldwell, artist and Professor in Fine Art at the University of the Arts London
Thursday, 22 May 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00
The different techniques of printmaking by contemporary artist and Kent alumna Dawn Cole
Saturday, 24 May 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00
Gwen Raverat: her history, wood engravings and circle of friends by her grandson, William Pryor
Saturday, 31 May 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00
Biting through: the relationship between etchings, lithographs and screenprints and my kinetic sculpture by Liliane Lijn
Saturday, 7 June 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00
Black, white and one: developing a print portfolio from artwork to gallery by Fiona de Bulat, artist, lecturer and cofounder of ‘DBA editions’ print studio
Thursday, 12 June 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00
‘Beauty in art’ and ‘My printmaking techniques’ by the celebrated artist Anita Klein PPRE Hon RWS
Saturday, 14 June 2014 from 14:00 to 16:00

 

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SMALL By the Black Window 21 - Marcus Rees Roberts

WINTER JOURNEY – VISITOR COMMENTS

SMALL By the Black Window 21 - Marcus Rees Roberts

 

There are still 4 more weeks to see Winter Journey by Marcus Rees Roberts, an exhibition that visitors have described as:

 

Very expressive and unique

 

Deeply moving

 

Deep, beautiful…

 

Moving and provocative

 

Fantastic!!!

 

A poignant and moving presentation of images, text and video…

 

A very sophisticated and literary show. Wonderful.

 

Deep, dark and moving

 

Very, very, very good. Quite haunting really…

 

Dark yet pertinent!

 

Intense and moving

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Underexposed poster1a

COMING SOON – UNDEREXPOSED

 

Underexposed poster1a

 

Underexposed. The exhibition that aims to challenge opinion.

Exposure isn’t exclusive to photography. In fact, when it comes to the arts, lots of things are ‘underexposed’ but none more so than female group exhibitions and the medium of the fine art print. That’s according to the curators of a forthcoming exhibition at Studio 3 Gallery in Kent, Frances Chiverton and Lynne Dickens.

Underexposed will survey the ways in which over 40 prominent female artists have used the medium of print over the last two centuries (and beyond). It will feature painters and sculptors, and highlight how print relates to their primary focus. It will also look at those who are or have been printmakers first and foremost, and why they have chosen to work in that particular artistic medium. At the same time, the exhibition will examine the different types of prints – from more traditional wood or metal engravings, etchings, lithographs and linocuts to more recent methods such as screenprints, photogravure and digitally produced work – as well as the different subject matter chosen by the various female artists represented.

The exhibition concept has received a lot of support from professional curators in both national and local institutions and in higher education, including Gill Saunders, Senior Curator (Prints), Victoria & Albert Museum, who says: “Many of the terms which have traditionally been associated with prints – small-scale, modest, private, intimate, personal – have been applied to the work of women artists too. This exhibition sets out to challenge the often dismissive and derogatory implications of such terms by bringing together a diverse mix of works which demonstrate the originality, innovation, skill and ambition to be found in the printed work of female painters, sculptors and printmakers from the 19th century to the present day.”

The curators, who are in fact two mature art history students at the University of Kent, feel it is an opportunity to educate both the art-going public (and other students) on the importance of the print medium in western art history, and to celebrate the artistic achievements of female artists overall. There seems to be a lot of consensus in this idea, as during the exhibition there will be a series of free lectures for the general public given by leading experts including: Gill Saunders, William Pryor, grandson of 20th century artist Gwen Raverat who was a founder of the Society of Wood Engravers, artists Paul Coldwell on his time working in the studio of Paula Rego, Anne Desmet RA RE, Anita Klein PPRE Hon RWS and Kent alumna Dawn Cole.

Anita Klein, one of the contemporary artists – and a fellow and past president of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers (RE) – whose work will be exhibited at the show explains why she is supporting the ambitious students, “Like many artists I became addicted to printmaking for the variety of marks the various techniques allowed me to make. The immediacy and domestic scale of printmaking has always felt appropriate for my subject matter, the celebration of daily life. Like many women artists, my artistic style has often been at odds with prevailing fashions for large-scale grand statements and masculine bravura. So when I was invited to participate in this interesting exhibition I was delighted to accept. I commend these students on their bravery in bringing together such a diverse range of artists and in perceiving our underlying connection.”

Similarly artist Charlotte Cornish is equally enthusiastic about the exhibition. She reckons, “Making prints has always excited, engaged and intrigued me – the mastery of techniques and the handling of materials; the exploration of the infinite and varied forms of mark making; building images layer upon layer; the satisfaction of process; the potential for multiples; and the thrilling element of the unexpected. I feel that printmaking has deeply informed my practice as an artist, not only through creating editions of prints and making monoprints but also by influencing and shaping my approach to painting.”

But Klein and Cornish are just two of the many 20th and 21st century contributors to the exhibition, which will include high profile artists such as Alison Wilding RA, Anne Desmet RA, Barbara Hepworth DBE, Beryl Cook OBE, Bridget Riley CH CBE, Cornelia Parker OBE RA, Eileen Cooper RA, Elisabeth Frink DBE RA, Lill Tschudi, Sandra Blow RA, Sonia Delaunay, Tess Jaray RA, Tracey Emin CBE RA and Valerie Thornton, and a long list of others. “Our aim is not to generalise but to focus on a specific category and exploration,” explain Frances and Lynne, adding, “the exhibition is partial, a snapshot, but in our opinion addressing a gap.”

Underexposed takes place at Studio 3 Gallery within the School of Arts building at the University of Kent in Canterbury from 16 May to 19 June 2014 (except 23 May and bank holiday 26 May).

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Marcus Rees Roberts, 'By the Black Window', 2013 (detail)

Coming soon – Marcus Rees Roberts Q&A

Marcus Rees Roberts, 'By the Black Window', 2013 (detail)

 

Q&A with Marcus Rees Roberts

The artist behind Studio 3 Gallery’s current ‘darkly poetic’ exhibition will be in conversation with curator Ben Thomas on Monday 24 February 2014, 5-7pm, in Studio 3 Gallery. Do come to find out more about the sources of inspiration – including such writers as Brecht, Benjamin, Celan, Lorca, and Radnoti – for this rich and compelling show.

All welcome. Wine will be served.

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Between Dog and Wolf II

COMING SOON: WINTER JOURNEY

MARCUS REES ROBERTS – WINTER JOURNEY

 ECHO SONG

 

Monday 20 January – Friday 11 April 2014

 

There is an expression in French to describe dusk: ‘entre chien et loup’. At the end of the day, in the dying of the light, it is hard to distinguish ‘between dog and wolf’ and objects take on an indeterminate menace in this state of perceptual ambiguity. This is the moment inhabited by the art of Marcus Rees Roberts.

 

Working together with Pratt Contemporary, Studio 3 Gallery presents an exhibition of the darkly poetic work of Marcus Rees Roberts. The focus of the exhibition will be recent short films from The Winter Journey cycle, and related work in diverse media including By the Black Window (2013) – a work consisting of 24 drawings conceived for Studio 3 Gallery – and paintings from the Echo Song series (2012-13). Also exhibited are the book works Ash to Dark Water (2005), The Sad Sea (2009) and Night of Four Moons (2009), and the sets of prints Between Dog and Wolf (2008), Memory’s Wound (2010) and Echo Song (2012).

 

In his current work Rees Roberts has taken inspiration from the poetry and writings of Miklós Radnóti, Federico Garciá Lorca, Paul Celan and Walter Benjamin: all of whom were victims of fascist persecution. Underlying his concern with modernist stylistic experimentation is the insistent political question of how the artist should bear witness to the atrocities of our times. Rich in poetic connotations and thematic leitmotifs, it is uncertain whether the Winter Journey envisaged by Rees Roberts is Radnóti’s forced march, Schubert’s Winterreise, or Odysseus’s voyage to Hades’ ‘dark shore’.

 

Between Dog and Wolf II

 

Marcus Rees Roberts studied English at Cambridge, before moving to the Slade School of Art where he studied Film Theory and Printmaking, and was awarded the Slade Prize in 1977. He lectured on printmaking at Edinburgh College of Art from 1980 until 1995 when he moved to London. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at West Dean College in Sussex. His work is represented in leading collections throughout the UK including the British Museum, the V&A, UCL Art Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, Scottish Arts Council and Pallant House Gallery.

 

Marcus Rees Roberts – Winter Journey is on display at the Studio 3 gallery from Monday 20 January – Friday 11 April 2014. The gallery is located on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus, within the School of Arts’ Jarman Building, Canterbury CT2 7UG. The gallery is open to the public, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

 

Website:

 

http://www.prattcontemporaryart.co.uk

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Alfred Drury, The Age of Innocence (1897)

ALFRED DRURY – LAST 2 WEEKS!

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Alfred Drury and the New Sculpture will close in Studio 3 Gallery on Friday 20 December at 5pm. After that it will move to The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds where the exhibition will reopen on 15 January 2014.

 

Here are some of the comments left by visitors to the exhibition so far:

 

Very Good

 

Beautiful –definitely worth repeat visits

 

Very beautiful works – fascinating sculpture

 

Simply stunning. Extremely impressive work and a joy to view in this space.

 

Superb!

 

Beautifully arranged and lit.

 

Absolutely astounding exhibition!

 

Wonderful! So pleased to be here.

 

Great exhibition!

 

What an achievement. So many different mediums…

 

Fantastic work. Quite inspiring!

 

I love how elegant and dignified Alfred Drury is!

 

What a treat! Thanks. Drury & Rodin to boot.

 

Always nice to look around these exhibitions. Personally I preferred his paintings to the sculpture.

 

Truly a wonderful experience.

 

A lot of interesting things to look at not just the sculptures but the use of other materials as well. Really enjoyed the attention to detail. Like the fireplace.

 

Wonderful! The most inspiring and professional show on in Canterbury!

 

A really impressive fulfillment of a long maturing project!

 

Well done – another fantastic and inspiring exhibitions. They just get better.

 

Positively inspiring: Drury really is due for a reassessment!

 

Excellent!

 

Inspiring – love the recreation of the studio.

 

Captivated by Head of a Young Man by Dalou…

 

Very refreshing and interesting exhibition as part of the Festival week.

 

A really engaging and eye-catching hang. Great selection of works. Really enjoyable exhibition…

 

Worth revisiting many times.

 

Beautiful and inspiring.

 

Really interesting.

 

Illuminating!

 

Excellent exhibition – good to have something like this on campus.

 

So enlightening. I wish there were more to see…

 

A wonderful exhibition. Stunning.

 

Most impressive.

 

Fantastic exhibition of an underrated artist.

 

Learnt a lot!

Alfred Drury, The Age of Innocence (1897)

 

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