I used to think I wasn’t that into art. Then I started to meet local designer-makers at Fairs and went along to a female-centric exhibition at a gallery last summer and realised that I am very much interested in the way that women tell stories through their art.
I recently got in touch with Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange to discuss their summer programme and discovered that, while women outnumber men in art school, men are exhibited more widely in art galleries. The Gallery is delighted to be bucking the trend with a female-focussed line-up for its summer programme.
Leading the way with a major exhibition across both the Gallery’s venues is painter Rose Wylie, who was recently awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honour’s list. Her exhibition, History Painting, features colourful, large-scale, figurative paintings that are intelligent, funny, and quietly political.
Joining her at Newlyn Art Gallery is Naomi Frears, the highly respected artist based in St Ives. For her show in The Picture Room space at the gallery, she is showing a new body of work initiated by time she spent working alongside students and staff at Plymouth University.
Frears’ work is on show until 4 August, and all works are for sale. She will be followed by Catherine Haines, who will be showing a collection of etchings and paintings that explore folklore and the sea until 22 September.
At The Exchange, the summer exhibition in The Engine Room space features the Trengwainton Heritage Project, curated and produced by Barbara Santi. It continues until 28 July. Adding to this illustrious female ensemble is artist Alice Ellis-Bray, who is delivering weekly art classes for 7-13-year-olds during August.
In addition to the exhibitions and events taking place in the galleries, an all-women team from the Gallery took part in Processions 2018, a mass participation artwork in London on 10 June. The event was to mark 100 years of the Representation of the People Act, which first gave some women (and some men) the right to vote.
And that’s not all. There are dozens of galleries and studios in the area, one of my favourites of which is Circa 21, a beautiful gift shop in Penzance selling wonderful creations from local artists, with a gallery upstairs.
Currently on display is Esther Connon‘s Hidden Stories. I first came across Esther’s work at the 2016 Cornwall Design Fair and spotted her work again at the 2017 Outlaw. Her illustrations are simply beautiful and I’d love to fill my home with her prints and light shades.
You can see Hidden Stories until 28 July.
Have you got a favourite local artist?