Having recently visited Worthing Museum and Art Gallery where there were two exhibitions focusing on female artists I just had to go to Pallant House Gallery to see the three exhibitions focusing on female artists.
Prunella Clough: A Centenary
I had never heard of this artist and had no realised that there was an exhibition of her work but it is on display in an exhibition on its own in the gallery. I had actually gone to see another exhibition entirely but decided to see what else was on display.
This artist produced both realistic and abstract works and the first one that caught my attention was her painting Fancy Goods Two, (oil on canvas, 1992) and took a close up photograph a detail of the painting. It reminded me of one of my paintings with the way the colour has been applied and has made me feel inspired to apply colours in a new painting in a greater variety then I have been doing.
The one painting in this exhibition that I would love to have on my own wall is Deserted Gravel Pit (circa 1946, oil on board). There is something about this particular painting that drew me in, the colours as well as the subject matter, the mixture of the man-made in the environment.
Radical Women: Jessica Dismorr and her Contemporaries
I have to admit to never having heard of Jessica Dismorr but I had heard of two of her contemporaries, Winifred Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. This exhibition is of a number of artists that might have been well known at the time but have now been forgotten.
There is no doubt that there are many artists who are not particularly successful during their life but who become well known after their death and their works are sold for large sums of money but it is sad to think that many do not become very successful during their life time and are soon forgotten.
Apparently she was at the forefront of the avant-garde in Britain and involved with the Rhythm group during the late 1910s, as well as vorticism, post-war figuration and the abstraction of the 1930s. The gallery stated that she has since then, unjustly, fallen into obscurity.
This exhibition illustrates how she and her female contemporaries used their art in modernist literature and radical politics. They also were involved with the campaign for women’s suffrage and the anti-fascist organisations of the 1930s.
The artists included are her fellow Rhythmists, Anne Estelle Rice and Ethel Wright; Helen Saunders, the only other female founding signatory of the Vorticists; Paule Vezelay, who showed with Dismorr with the London Group, and Sophie Fedorovitch and Winifred Nicholson who exhibited at the Seven and Five Society in the 1920s. Dismorr was one of only seven British women at D.O.O.D (de Olympiade onder Dictatuur) Amsterdam in 1936, the exhibition designed to counter Josef Goebbels’ Nazi Art Olympiad, and her work is being shown for the first time in the company of other women who exhibited with anti-fascist organisations in the 1930s, including Edith Rimmington, Betty Rea and Barbara Hepworth.
There are 80 works on display, a mixture of painting, sculptures, graphic art and archival materials, some of which have never been exhibited before. A very varied mix of exhibits to view.
This is a self-portrait by Jessica Dismorr and the next image is a ‘Landscape with figures’ circa 1911-12 (oil on panel) which I found myself drawn to but there were plenty of abstract paintings to study. I think the reason I liked the landscape was the outlines and bold colours.
The other one that I was drawn to of hers was ‘The Square’ circa 1913, oil on panel. For me it was quite interesting to see work not on canvas but on a panel as I often work on a board and have only just begun to work more on canvas.
Jann Haworth: Close Up
I came across this exhibition as I was about to enter the Jessica Dismorr one so decided to come back to it and take a look at her work. She makes sculptures out of cloth.
This is teacups and a plate of doughnuts as well as the newspaper. I did wonder whether this is more craft that art but the exhibition refers to her work as sculptures so it is classed as art.
On one wall is a long banner made up of panels, which she created with her daughter Liberty Blake, called Work in Progress (2015 – ongoing, vinyl). It was the result of a number of community workshops using collage of portraits celebrating and acknowledging the contribution of women who are responsible for either cultural or social changes. I recognised some of them, including Yaoi Kusama whose work has inspired some of mine.
It was good to be able to see the work of a number of female artists in one place as so many exhibitions are of the work of men. Their work may be very interesting but I was glad to see the contribution of female artists.
Henry Moore: An Artist and His Patron
Just before I left I popped in to have a quick look at this exhibition which included some of his sheep drawings which I had seen in a book. These are all works on paper. I needed a bit more time to have a really good look at them and hope to be able to go back and look at all three exhibitions again.