This week I saw two exhibitions focusing on women artists at the Whitechapel Gallery, London .The Guerrilla Girls challenge art institutional attitudes since the late 1980s, it’s good to see them still present and still active. Their work is loud, colourful, fun but always asking the question ‘where are the women artists?’ This time they focussed on following up some of their original research into equality practices in galleries by sending a questionnaire out across the US and UK. The responses (and non-responses) from each institution have been converted into poster form and displayed, the non-responsive list stuck to the Whitechapel Gallery floor for you to ‘feel free to walk on!’
“Terrains of the Body” – 17 photographers from the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington DC, shows women as both subject and creator of their own work. My favourite is Kristen Justesen, ‘Portrait in cabinet with collection’ 2013, where she is lying relaxed across the middle shelf of a large old wooden cabinet, tucked in between her old sketches and underneath a row of female figurines.
I then moved on to the Fine Art Society, New Bond Street. This is currently showing women artists on all of their four floors. A good exhibition, diverse in artistic forms from sketching to sculpture and from Hannah Gluck to contemporary practitioners, such as painter Eileen Cooper. I particularly enjoyed “Life Studies”, a series of black and white drawings/prints by Ethel Gabain (1883-1950), delicate and sensitive observations of mainly female figures expressing emotions, sometime sad, lonely, others strong and challenging, in interiors, in a street, or a more theatrical setting. Beautifully drawn. This private gallery is proud to have been representing women amongst their artists since the 1870s.
Visit the Fine Art Society website here….