Women in Art

18 Dec 2019

Edinburgh currently has three exhibitions in three different venues spanning over 100 years. The first is the Scottish artist Mary Cameron (1865-1921) at the City Arts Centre, the second is arts and crafts artist May Morris (1862–1938) at Dovecot and finally the magnificent Paula Rego at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

Robb Report

Art collectors and museum directors may give lip service to the issue of gender diversity, but a startling new survey reveals that female artists remain at a severe disadvantage in both the commercial market and institutional representation.

Artworks by women represented a mere 2 percent of global spending at auction in the last decade, with five names accounting for more than 40 percent of that tiny fraction. The analysis of market statistics, including a survey of the acquisition and exhibition data from 26 leading US art museums, was released Thursday by the art websites artnet News and In Other Words, which is owned by Sotheby’s.

Of the $196.6 billion spent globally on art at auction from 2008 to mid-2019, the survey found that only $4 billion was on art by women, less than the total spent on works by Pablo Picasso alone. A full $500 million of that sliver was spent solely on works by Yayoi Kusama, with Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O’Keefe and Agnes Martin ranking as the other four top names.

In contrast, global auction expenditure on male artists—who make up 98 percent of the last decade’s total—is much more widely distributed. The top five male artists—Picasso, Andy Warhol, Zhang Daqian, Qi Baishi and Claude Monet—comprise less than 9 percent of market share.

Click here to read the full article

Mary Cameron: Life in Paint | The City Art Centre, Edinburgh

The City Art Centre celebrates the life and career of pioneering Edinburgh-born artist Mary Cameron (1865-1921). Mary Cameron was also represented by The Scottish Gallery during her lifetime.

Mary Cameron (1865-1921) was a woman ahead of her time. Born in Edinburgh, she began her artistic career as a portraitist and genre painter in her native city, before venturing abroad to study in Paris. Foreign travel proved to be an enduring source of inspiration. In 1900 she visited Madrid for the first time, and became captivated by the Spanish culture, people and scenery. Establishing studios in Madrid and Seville, she painted large-scale compositions of traditional peasant life, dramatic bullfights and rural landscapes. Cameron exhibited widely during her lifetime, and her talents were admired by contemporaries such as John Lavery and Alexander Roche. However, like so many female artists of her generation, her name is now little-known.

Mary Cameron: Life in Paint places this forgotten artist back in the spotlight. It explores the fascinating story of Cameron’s life and career, charting her creative journey from elegant family portraits to breath-taking Spanish scenes. The exhibition features over forty rarely-seen artworks from public and private collections, complemented by historic photographs and archival material. Accompanied by the forthcoming book Mary Cameron: Life in Paint, written by Helen E. Scott with a foreword by Kenneth McConkey, published by Sansom & Co in November 2019. Click here to purchase the book.

Mary Cameron is currently on show at The City Art Centre, Edinburgh and will continue until 15 March 2020, admission is free.

Women in Art
Mary Cameron with painting materials, Spain c. 1909. Private Collection
Women in Art
Forthcoming book Mary Cameron: Life in Paint by Helen E. Scott

May Morris: Art & Life | Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh

‘I’m a remarkable woman – always was, though none of you seemed to think so.’ May Morris in a letter to George Bernard Shaw, 1936

The exhibition tells the story of May, who at age 23, took charge of the Morris & Co. embroidery department and was responsible for creating some of the company’s most iconic textiles and wallpaper designs.

Dovecot Studios stage a landmark exhibition exploring the life and work of May Morris (1862–1938), the youngest daughter of William Morris (1834–96) and one the most significant artists of the British Arts and Crafts movement in the early 20th century. Bringing together over 80 original textiles and

drawings from collections around the UK, May Morris Art & Life will explore May’s extraordinary body of work, and why she deserves recognition outside her familial namesake.

For more than 100 years May’s contribution to the decorative arts, embroidery, has languished behind her father’s illustrious career. Revealing the breadth of May’s creative pursuits, the exhibition features wallpaper and embroidery alongside jewellery, dresses and book designs, as well as sketches and watercolours, which May painted throughout her lifetime.

At the age of 23 May took charge of the Morris & Co. embroidery department and was responsible for creating some of the company’s most iconic textile and wallpaper designs. With a focus on May’s role in the development of art embroidery – elevating needlework from a domestic craft to a serious art form – the show highlights the extent of her influence in the UK and abroad, particularly the US.

May was a prolific creator throughout her lifetime and continued to receive commissions right up to the final months of her life. While her own artistic reputation was overlooked after her death, May was instrumental in preserving and shaping her father’s legacy. As well as publishing 24 volumes of The Collected Works of William Morris, May ensured examples of her father’s designs were donated to the V&A and secured the future of Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, the Morris’s country residence, as a house of historic interest.

Celia Joicey, Director Dovecot Studios says, “Dovecot is delighted to showcase the exquisite artwork, embroidery and jewellery of May Morris in this important Arts and Crafts exhibition. As a Tapestry Studio, we hope 21st century audiences will take inspiration from May Morris’ distinctive engagement with the politics and economics of making work by hand.”

Exhibition Organised by the William Morris Gallery, London in association with Dovecot Studios

May Morris: Art & Life is currently on show at Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh and will continue until 14 March 2020. Tickets are £9.

Dovecot Festive Opening Hours: Dovecot is open Monday to Saturday as usual during the festive period. They will be closed on 23, 24, 25, 26 December, and 1 January.

Women in Art
May Morris taken in 1908 by G C Beresford, copyright William Morris Gallery
Women in Art
May Morris Art in Life, Dovecot Studios 2019. Photograph: John Preece

Paula Rego | Obedience and Defiance | Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Two), Edinburgh

Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance is an ambitious retrospective of the Portuguese artist’s work that brings politics to the fore.

Spanning Rego’s career from the 1960s through to 2012, the works at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh address António de Oliveira Salazar’s fascist regime, the 1997 referendum on legalising abortion in Portugal, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the United States and its allies and, from 2009, female genital mutilation – all of which resonate strongly with contemporary feminist and political issues. Highlights of the exhibition include The Maids (1987), Snow White and her Stepmother (1995), Dancing Ostriches (1995) and Joseph’s Dream (1990). Curated by independent curator Catherine Lampert and organised by MK Gallery (Milton Keynes), the exhibition includes over 80 loans.

‘a monumental show of sex, anger and pain’

Ferocious and tender, her pictures – as she often calls them – are filled with coded messages, some more easily read than others. Like children’s stories with adult themes, there are jealousies and affairs, adulteries and betrayals, longings and losses, ambivalences. Born into a middle-class Portuguese family in 1935, Rego was sent to a finishing school in England and then attended the Slade in London, run by the patrician William Coldstream. Much emphasis was placed on the plumb lines and measurements, the subdued palette and continual visual reassessments and supposed objectivity of the Euston Road school of drawing. Visiting tutors such as Lucian Freud and LS Lowry provided light relief. Rego escaped into a kind of narrative, loose pictorial style bordering on caricature.

Adrian Searle, the guardian, June 2019

Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance in currently on show at SNGMA and will continue until Sun 19 Apr 2020 Open daily, 10am-5pm – see website for Christmas opening times. Tickets £11.50 Concessions available.

Women in Art
Angel, 1998 by Paula Rego Ostrich Arts Limited © Paula Rego, Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art
More News