May 03, 2024

Exhibition wishlist '24

By Sophie Harpley
Exhibition wishlist '24

When I was growing up in the 1990's, looking for role models of women artists, well there were hardly any. I actually dropped studying Art History because I just couldn't relate to it (horror to me now!). But it felt like all we ever covered were 'the men who changed the world' and seldom anything so recent as modernism. Of course I understand now that they wanted to teach art chronologically - but for a teenager excited by the freedom of colour and paint and wondering what to do with it - dwelling in the middle ages really dampened the spirits.


This is why as an adult I never tire of learning my own way. And that means 'dwelling' much on women artists of the 20th century, to redress that balance! No surprise then my wishlist of galleries to visit this year are made up entirely of the inspiring women of modernism who were making waves despite all odds stacked against them. Those are the stories I love to hear and theirs are the works I can pour over for hours. Lost in every irreverent brushstroke.


Gardening Bohemia: Bloomsbury Women Outdoors


Few exhibitions feel quite so 'up my street' as this! I adore Vanessa Bell, I adore nature and the outdoors, I adore The Garden Museum in London and have been going there for years. Oh and I love to see 'Bloomsbury Women' take centre stage for once. Vanessa is always talked about in thee context of the men in her life, yet she was just as much a vital influence within post-impressionism as anyone. Let's talk about that! Suffice to say I will be visiting this show with bells on. Vanessa Bells.


Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520-1920


The title says it all really. High time to unlock 400 years of creative work at last! If only this had been on my 1990's school syllabus. The image above is a particular favourite by Mary Delany. Can you believe this is a collage?! Made entirely from tiny scraps of painted paper - yet it looks like a scientifically accurate botanical painting. More staggering still is that Mary didn't even begin to create her body of almost a thousand artworks, until she was 72 years old.


Sonia Delaunay: Living Art


Ok, a bit of a journey to see this one if you're in the UK like me! But I really enjoyed seeing Sonia's work at the Tate a few years ago so would absolutely pop in to this if I were passing...


Expressionists: Kandinsky, Munter and the Blue Rider


Exciting to see female expressionist, Gabrielle Munter's work forming a major part of this show at the Tate. Expressionism is one of my favourite movements so I'm really looking forward to this.

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