The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts opens 'Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition'

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The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts opens 'Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition'
Agnes Miller Parker, The Uncivilised, Cat, 1930. The Fleming Collection. Ⓒ The Copyright Holder. Image courtesy The Fine Art Society. Photography by John McKenzie.

NORWICH.- Scottish Women Artists: Transforming Tradition brings together more than 50 historical, modern and contemporary works from the Fleming Collection and artists’ loans that span over one hundred years of social transformation, innovation and individualism.

Mid-20th-century greats, such as Joan Eardley, Margot Sandeman and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, are displayed alongside their peers and artistic forbears along with contemporary headliners such as Turner prize winner Charlotte Prodger and 2022 Scotland in Venice star, Alberta Whittle.

Scottish Women Artists aims to address a wide and eclectic range of themes by focusing on paintings, drawings, assemblages and photography that explore human relationships, encounters with places, structural forms and recognisable objects. In this way, traditional genres such as the still life, landscape and portraiture are reinvigorated by the artists’ imaginative treatment of familiar subject matter.

At the beginning of the 20th-century, the radical new co-educational programmes offered by Scottish institutions presented women with the opportunity to develop as professional artists. Many artists forged their own distinct paths, drawing strength and support from the life-long friendships that they formed at art school or within the artist colonies of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, Catterline in Aberdeenshire, and further afield in St Ives, Cornwall.

Selected from the Fleming Collection’s extensive holdings of Scottish art, and supplemented by further loans, this exhibition celebrates the professional careers of more than 30 artists, who have received honours and commendations for the quality of their work and their outstanding contribution to the arts.

By foregrounding works by Annie French and Phoebe Anna Traquair to Caroline Walker and Sekai Machache, Scottish Women Artists aspires to serve as a ‘curatorial corrective’ for the historic absence of women artists in academic narratives and artistic institutions.

Sainsbury Centre Executive Director Professor Jago Cooper said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Fleming Collection on this major new exhibition which aims to change perceptions of Scottish art. The show foregrounds the work of female artists historically overshadowed in the public eye by their male contemporaries. The exhibition spans over 100 years of creativity, revealing how Scottish women artists have always pushed the boundaries of artistic practice and inspiration.”

James Knox, Director of the Fleming Collection said “Since its inception in 1968, the Fleming Collection has been unusual in recognising the importance of women artists to the story of Scottish art, when key works by Joan Eardley, Anne Redpath and other mid-century greats were acquired. This ground-breaking show brings that story up to date with the triumph of contemporary artists on the international stage bringing to the fore the continuum of female talent and innovation that has powered Scotland’s art.”

Exhibition supported by The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation.

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication Scottish Women Artists by Charlotte Rostek, published by the Fleming Collection.

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