16 September 2023 – 13 January 2024
Parallel Lives looks at the careers and experiences of eight women artists, all born within twenty years of each other and whose lives spanned the 20th century. It follows their successes and the challenges they faced, noting moments when their lives and experiences overlapped.
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was a pioneering abstract artist closely associated with the St Ives artists’ colony; Prunella Clough turned her back on a privileged upbringing to depict a world of industrial labour and urban edgelands, her work becoming more ambiguous as her career progressed; Ithell Colquhoun combined interests in surrealism and the occult to create a body of work that is unique in British art; Evelyn Dunbar gained lasting recognition as the only salaried woman war artist of the Second World War, her paintings inspired by a deep love of the countryside; as a sculptor and printmaker Gertrude Hermes’ explored the human figure and forms from nature in two and three dimensions;
Barbara Jones is known for her topographical and architectural watercolours and contributions to the Recording Britain project, she also shared an interest in folk art with Enid Marx whose eclectic output included book illustration, prints, posters and textile design; Monica Poole pursued a career as a wood engraver when the medium was unfashionable, creating atmospheric depictions of Kentish landscapes and is now recognised as one of Britain’s most notable 20th century printmakers.
They shared an independent outlook and a willingness to pursue a singular artistic vision, sometimes against the tide of contemporary fashions and influences. The exhibition reflects the range of media in which these artists worked: sculpture, painting, printmaking, textile design and book illustration. It also showcases a range of styles as they selectively drew on contemporary art movements including neo-romanticism, realism, surrealism, popular art and abstraction. Each artist was an original and innovative creative force, who built a career on their own terms and developed a significant and enduring body of work.
Not able to come in person or want more information about the artists? Why not purchase a copy of the full colour hard-backed catalogue online? CLICK HERE