Women in Collections

From: 13th January 2018 10:00 am

To: 31st March 2018 4:00 pm

Nottingham Castle Gallery

Nottingham NG1 6EL, United Kingdom





Exhibiting Artists: Marion Adnams, Phylida Barlow, Val Barry, Margaret Benyon, Alicia Boyle, Hilda Chancellor Pope, Mary Dakeyne Townroe, Pippin Drysdale Evelyn Gibbs Kate Malone Anne Morrell, Winifred Nicholson, Magdalene Odundo, Emily Murray Paterson, Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie, Clara Maria Pope, Yelena Popova, Anne Redpath, Catherine Adeline Sparkes, May Aimee Smith, Judy Trim & Rosa Wallis

Research tells us that only 5% of works in our Fine and Decorative Art collections are by women artists, the majority of which were collected after 1980. It is also estimated that only 5% of work in major permanent collections worldwide is by women, as many are overlooked, insufficiently appreciated and forgotten by art history.

This ‘spotlight’ exhibition is a response to a study day that explored the theme of ‘Women in Collections’. Run by the Contemporary Art Society at Leeds Art Gallery last October, the programme highlighted the chronic failure of modern and contemporary art galleries to demonstrate equality and diversity in their collections. This prompted us to look at works by women artists within our own male-dominated collections.

Until well in to the 20th century, women struggled to be taken seriously as artists and to gain access to art training. When they did manage to gain a place at art school, female students were often excluded from life-drawing classes, at a time when study from the nude model was considered crucial to art training. Up until the 1970s only a small number of women artists attracted the kind of recognition for their work that was enjoyed by male artists.

Women in Collections presents work by women artists who respond to aspects of, or objects found in, their physical or cultural environments. Anne Morrell uses stitch to capture closely observed moments in nature, whilst Magdalene Odundo raises the concept of shifting cultural identities through her hand-built ceramics.

Artists such as Margaret Benyon MBE and Evelyn Gibbs have contributed greatly to the creative landscape of Nottingham. A pioneer of British holography, Margaret Benyon first began experimenting with holography as an artistic medium at the University of Nottingham in the 1960s. A feminist strand runs through her practice, fired by her discovery that in the product engineering laboratories of the University, there were no women’s lavatories at that time. Artist and educator Evelyn Gibbs was evacuated to Nottingham during WWII, here she founded the Midland Group of Artists in 1943 and worked as a prolific War Artist.



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