SLWAnews

Issue 2, September 2014

 
Welcome to the second edition of SLWA's bi-annual newsletter. We have many varied articles to share with you which we hope you find interesting. SLWA has been busy since the launch of our Newsletter in February 2014. theWHYfront performed outside WoW at the Royal Festival Hall, celebrating International Women's day on March 8 with style. Read our article below on the theWHYfront's return to Deptford X at the Albany for their ambitious collaborative drawing project Hidden Narratives Dangerous Erasions. Moira Jarvis reviews Louise Bourgeois show at Tate Modern, Pia Randall-Goddard writes about her trip to The Lizard in Cornwall and in the summer a few SLWA's had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Judith Bernstein (an early member of the Guerrilla Girls) at the private view of her show Rising at Studio Voltaire. Pat Keay write's about Colourswatch at Espacio Galleryand the concept of curating a show based on chance. To coincide with the launch of our first book, I'm Inside Ring the bell read the curators ideas and the challenges of implementing a 3 day-show and re-creating Judy Chicago's seminal installation, The Dinner Party.  This issue also covers SLWA artist blogs including Toni de Bromhead, Anne Krinsky and Pat Mear with a full listing of our upcoming projects and events over the next few months including the Finders Keepers Losers Weepers residency and art trail. Laura Moreton-Griffiths details the inspiration behind her work for this exhibition and there is a full speaker line-up listed for our Symposium at Conway Hall in November including articles about Liz Atkin and Joan Byrne who will be performing on the night. Future shows to look out for in 2015 - Urban at Brixton East and Death & Transition at Gabriel Fine Art Gallery.

Artist Gallery Reviews & Events
Judith Bernstein
Rising : Studio Voltaire, Clapham
5 July to 24 August 2014
 
Judith Bernstein (centre) with SLWA artists at Studio Voltaire
The energy and confrontational dialogue of Judith Bernstein’s works as you first walk in to the gallery of Studio Volatire, quite literally take your breath away. Bold, inquisitive, expressive mark marking all delivered with curiosity and a sense of fun that looks at sex and violence in a world that is explosive and charged. 

On entering a blackout room to view Birth of the Universe #33 the impact of this fluorescent graffiti-like painting makes you feel like you have entered into space, or another universe – a playfully drawn limp penis is positioned rather inadequately next to an electric wide open vagina – emphasising the vagina as the primal and most powerful source of the universe. There is an active dialogue between the relationships of male/female genitalia, there is no denying the female gender supremacy in her work.

The black and white charcoal phallic screw head drawings have been revisted since her earlier versions in the  1960’s, a response to the historic objectification of female bodies, Bernstein objectifies the male body and penis with 6 scrolled canvases that unfold to the floor like weapons of destruction or comic helter-skelter like grandfather clocks, the frayed edges of the primed linen canvas reveals to the viewer the material, process and transcience of the works.

Bernstein’s largest painting to date Golden Birth of the Universe dominates the back wall of the gallery; the dialogue with the small missile-like penises unable to penetrate the strength and vitality of the open vagina that looks ready to blast off in to space – there is no refuting the resonance and durability of the female genitalia – feminism reclaimed? – it’s alive and kicking and Bernstein’s playful works that are both humorous and threatening, conjure up layers of political, personal and artistic struggle.
 
Melissa Budasz, July 2014
 
 
Louise Bourgeois: The Family
Tate Modern 16 June – 12 April 2015
by Moira Jarvis

 “Where’s the danger, the shock of the new art of Louise Bourgeois?” 
Jonathan Jones, Guardian, June 2014

He goes on to say that “Louise Bourgeois was no Picasso”. Jonathan, we do not need to ask Picasso for permission to make art.
 
The works on paper are fragile and ephemeral. In the red gouache drawings, Bourgeois has applied gouache paint onto wet paper, giving a loose, washy look that belies the graphic subject matter: sexual relations, conception, procreation and gestation. The male and female figures are reduced to the absolute essence as creator or sustainers of life, while the colour is symbolic of blood relations and primal urges.

Ode à Ma Mère explores her fascination with the spider. As the title suggests, the spider became linked in the artist’s mind with her own mother, a needlewomen active in the family business of tapestry restoration, who died when Bourgeois was young. She remembered her mother working diligently but like the industrious spider spinning a web there was always a sense of menace.
 
Bourgeois was familiar with the writings of psychoanalyst Melanie Klein and was particularly interested in Klein’s concept of reparation, a psychological process of making amends. Referring to the family tapestry restoration business, Bourgeois spoke about the needle as an instrument of mending: “all women in my house used needles. I’ve always had a fascination with the magic power of the needle. The needle is used to repair the damage. It is a claim to forgiveness, it is never aggressive, it’s not a pin”

 
In her final years, Bourgeois created a striking body of drawings frankly exploring themes that had preoccupied her for many years: birth, reproduction, motherhood, sexuality and human relationships. The life changing experience of childbirth and the fragile emergence of new life were subjects the artist still grappled with. Mother to three sons, Bourgeois’ powerful and often ambivalent feelings about motherhood were bound up with longing for her own mother.
 
She has said “if you hold a naked child against your naked breast, it is not the end of softness, it is the beginning of softness, it is life itself…I felt that when I represented the two naked bodies of the child and the mother, I can still feel her body and love”
 
The exhibition as a whole ranges broadly in time and concept, encompassing both specific memories and more abstract and ambiguous states of being.
 
It may be worth visiting this exhibition again, Jonathan.

Moira Jarvis, August 2014
 


A trip to the Lizard
by Pia Randall Goddard
 
I grew up on the Lizard, a place of mizzle, mermaids and pirates, and have come back this year, with my family and a copy of the Artist’s Way to spend time on a beach with a book and a conundrum. I want to see, if, in this magical land, I can sort out the endlessly enervating internal discussion of art versus craft, and lay to rest that particular conflict’s part in my creative progress before the next SLWA show at Conway Hall.

And, not suprisingly, the gallery at Kestle Barton which we stumble into on the first walk of the first day seems to provide some sort of an answer. After an exhausting walk round Frenchman’s Creek, the art in here both lifts and grips us immediately, sets us flying, engages us on every level. So much so in fact, that Paul Chaney’s gorgeous cyanotypes and screenprints, part of his Lizard Exit Plan exhibition, call us back twice more over the next week to plan resource lists, plot sizes, water and energy requirements for a post-apocalyptic life. This exhibition is an instruction manual for survival, a very elegant discussion between green ideology, survivalist fantasy and realistic expectation, closing the gap with interactive elements that include computer programmes, catching and cooking a rabbit, eating a certain beloved brand of tinned fruit salad by candle light, and camping under the stars.

It also includes an afternoon with a Breast Plough, a replica based on original medieval farming implement in the local Folk Museum in Helston and, willing victims, we offer ourselves up to plough part of a field in units of energy called Newts, specific to Paul’s  Lizard Exit Plan. Digging with this monster shovel, we use a considerable number of these Newts, and the fantasy of self-sufficiency soon collides with sweaty, back-breaking reality, just as the holes in the boat we found in stuck in the mud of Frenchman’s Creek would have sunk any pirate, real or imagined.
 
Before we leave I lust one last time after the cyanotypes. They are truly amazing, and resonate like the maps I have in my head of my childhood here, where I hopped and skipped many times, in my imagination at least, to the toy shop in Helston to look at the wooden rocking horse which has now, almost 50 years later, become the inspiration for the piece I’m trying to make for Finders Keepers Losers Weepers.
 
Towards the end of the week, we head to Helston to see the original Plough in the local folk museum, an astounding tardis of a place, packed with acres of folk art objects, room after room of the stuff of everyday life, from cradles to coffins and back again. There is nothing I can’t find, and there in the middle of it all is the original Breast Plough, hanging high up the wall with many other tools from a lost agrarian past, untouched, unused, unaddressed for years. Like my wooden horse it was waiting to be brought back out into the light, and it is indeed a thing of beauty, an inspirational item crafted to perfection, built for purpose, like my horse.
 
I am slightly cheered. Paul’s exhibition has taken the plough out of a fantasy space and made it real, and in the process made it more than that, just as I want to do with my wooden horse. His plough exists in both worlds, the Folk Museum and the Art Gallery, linking the two not just physically or intellectually, but imaginatively, creatively. I want my piece to be about that rupture that happens when fantasy becomes reality and the dream thumps to the floor, and how we deal with that, but wonder if I can faced with all these beautiful implements, attached as I am to the craft of it all, to the skill of the makers, the pure functional beauty of knives, books, bicycles. The invisible threads that connect me to the folk museum are just as strong as those that attach me to those cyanotypes, pieces which ask so many questions and answer them in so many magical ways. I am wondering now if I should stick to making hobby horses instead.
 
On the way back up the hill from the museum I know I will pass the toyshop. The horse has been gone for years, but now the shop has vanished too and all that is left is the sign on the wall outside. Eddy’s Toy Shop. No doubt the sign will one day end up in the folk museum, a monument not just to my childhood fantasies but to generations of children who grew up here, who fed their imaginations with all those long-gone toys.
 
I take a last photo of the shop before we leave and head back to London, to start the first chapter of the Artist’s Way, still in a conundrum. A few days later, in the full swing of day pages and the astoundingly effective exercises devoted to creative awakening, I upload the photos, and notice for the first time what the words etched in the glass of the toyshop window actually say, what I should have known was the answer all along - Fancy Goods, Arts and Crafts, and Toys, All Under One Roof. They are indeed.
 
The next exhibition at Kestle Barton Gallery will be Hannah Woodman’s large scale drawings of the garden, made in part on the gallery floor during the winter months, when the garden reveals its hidden structures and perspectives, and in the summer when the garden is ablaze with flowers.

Pia Randall Goddard, August 2014

Kestle Barton: Rural Centre for Contemporary Arts
Manaccan
Helston
Cornwall TR12 6HU
Helston Folk Museum
Market Place
Helston
Cornwall TR13 8TH
 
 
SLWA Exhibition & Events Reviews
 
Colourswatch Revisited
by Pat Keay
 
Thematic curation is hardly a novel concept. Most group shows attempt to control quality and content by applying a clear title and/or concept to which artists must respond. However, the theme for ‘Colourswatch’ was quite different and effectively unique for each participant. It was created by chance.
 
One challenge with the concept for this exhibition was to attempt to counteract the show’s detractors who disliked the notion of being ‘forced’ to work with a randomly allocated hue. Some SLWA members remained unpersuaded, but those who embraced the idea found their practice developed productively. Here is the story.

In 2005, I was an artist and teacher in Nairobi. One of my jobs was as Educational Co-ordinator at, what was then, Kenya’s national art gallery, Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art. I worked with street children, school groups, children from orphanages and Kenyan artists and teachers. After a session in synaesthesia with some street kids in which they responded by singing notes they felt corresponded to colours shown to them, the notion of colour as an exhibition theme persisted.

One of the problems of thematic shows is that artists will not always be inspired to create new work, preferring instead to include existing pieces that they believe will ‘fit’ the concept. That was an issue with ‘True Colours’ in Nairobi in 2005, and with ‘Colourswatch’ in 2014. My hope was that the random allocation of colours might propel artists out of their habitual palettes, and promote ‘out of the paint- box thinking’ in new work.
 
At the start of 2014, I was joined by others keen to co-curate this show, Christine Landreth, Eithne Twomey and Reema Dreeming, and we outlined the principle of the exhibition to SLWA members. Those interested in this experimental approach came to a meeting at the Espacio Gallery in Shoreditch. We presented the overall plan, and all 41 artists picked a number at random which coincided with a numbered envelope. Inside the envelope was an A5 colour swatch that was their colour to work with.
 
The exhibition at ‘Espacio’ in June was a critical and commercial success. Far from being a show of ‘pretty, coloured pictures-on-walls’, (as a colleague had feared and predicted,) the exhibition demonstrated the diversity and intelligence of our members. The exhibits ranged from colour field canvases and cutting-edge sculptures to small complex abstractions exploring symbolic links to a given colour. Many artists were challenged by the theme, and some told me they were delighted to have been removed from the creative comfort zone of their familiar palettes.

We sold 5 exhibits, and made an overall profit with ‘Colourswatch’. The Private View, at which the textile designer Sarah Campbell extolled colour as a theme, was one of the most highly attended to date. Many women made this project a success. All must be congratulated for realising this experimental concept and elemental theme. Thanks for taking this risk. 
                              
Pat Keay Sept 2014
 


  • This is the first publication from the female artist group, South London Women Artists (SLWA) for this Award winning exhibition
  • Published to document the exhibition by SLWA as a tribute to Judy Chicago’sThe Dinner Party (1974-1979) at 47/49 Tanner Street, London 15-17 March 2013
  • A beautiful reworking of the seminal installation by adding the names of over 70 women to the original list and to honour 1038 women of importance
This beautiful reworking of the seminal installation The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago adds the names of over 70 women to the original list, marking their place in history and memory. The selected women have inspired, educated, empowered and made a difference to the 38 participating SLWA artists’ lives. This new Dinner Party, put together as a tribute to the original, underlines the importance of all women’s contributions to the making of art, history, and life.

Read below what the curators of the show have to say ...

Julie Bennett
'I'm Inside, Ring The Bell' was born to the world in a coffee shop in Bermondsey in February 2013. I'd read about 47/49 Tanner Street - the creative project space near Tower Hill, London - at the Southwark Arts Forum annual conference and it looked impressive. It is a Victorian warehouse over three floors with exposed-brick walls and industrial features. 47/49 agreed we could have the space free for the weekend of International Women's Day. The trouble was, 47/49 had hanging restrictions meaning we couldn't make any holes in the walls, only working with existing nails - so we switched to a floor-based exhibition to control the aesthetic of the show.
Léonie Cronin
When the opportunity arose for an exhibition to honor International Women’s Day it seemed important to acknowledge this and the time seemed ripe for the artists to bring together their creativity to make something where the sum of many parts became one. Being familiar with Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party we thought it fitting to use the format of this work of art, one that is still surrounded by social and political agendas, to bring together the SLWA artists and show the strength of our collaborative practice while still maintaining our own autonomy. The criticisms Judy Chicago has faced and is still enduring for this work of art are part of a wider social construct towards women artists generally.
Laura Moreton-Griffiths
Judy Chicago’s iconic The Dinner Party pays tribute to 39 important women from history. Chicago grouped her women, both mythical and historical, into three wings, analogous to: prehistory to the Roman Empire, early Christendom to the Reformation, and the American Revolution to feminism. She set places for her guests around a three-sided table that formed an equilateral triangle, a symbolically important shape because no preference was inferred, or position of importance given to any one individual woman represented. In scaling down the table and accommodating the columns, we inadvertently gained deeper insight in to Chicago’s thinking and exposed the hierarchal structures at play in art history.
Lucy Soni
I discovered how much (and to such a high a standard) could be achieved in a short space of time, when you are working with driven and dedicated people. Team work and division of labour was essential and the show would never have come together with out the time and effort put in by, not only the curators but by the exhibiting SLWA members too. Archiving work is obviously always important and the briefness of ‘I’m Inside, Ring The Bell’ meant that archiving was essential to get it to a larger audience. This was how the idea to make a book of the show was born, the idea being to have a lasting and share-able celebration and thanks to artist and designer Pia Randall-Goddard and her husband photographer David, thanks also go to artist and designer Julie Bennett and all the participating artists.
 

SLWA Artist Blogs
SLWA member Anne Krinsky (above) is launching a project with the Women’s Art Library, housed at Goldsmiths College. From Absorb to Zoom: An Alphabet of Actions in the Women's Art Library will culminate in a site-specific print installation in March 2015 on the Goldsmiths campus. Krinsky is a painter and printmaker who previously has created installations about books and archived materials for library, museum and university settings in New England. “This will be my first installation with a UK archive and I will work with text and digital print for the first time, in skill-sharing collaborations with younger artists,” she says.

The WAL archive started in the late 1970's as an artist-led initiative to enhance public knowledge of the practice, impact and achievement of women in visual arts and houses unique documentation of women artists’ works. It remains open to all women artists. From Absorb to Zoom will take inspiration from slides, artists’ books, magazines, monographs and posters in the collection.

Krinsky writes, “Through my research, print installation and blog, I will address the underrepresentation of women in art history and highlight this historically important, but underutilized resource. The project blog will feature recent works by selected artists with documentation in the Women’s Art Library, to virtually update the archive.”

Krinsky has received a Grant for the Arts from Arts Council England for the project, as well as in-kind support from the project partners -- the Women’s Art Library and the Thames Barrier Print Studio -- where she will create the printed works for the installation.She plans to raise the last 15% of the project budget with a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter, going live soon. 

You can learn more about From Absorb to Zoom and the Kickstarter campaign here: http://www.annekrinsky.com/annekrinskynews.html

 

 

Pat Mear
The Inner Self: Drawings from the subconscious
at CGP London, The Gallery, Southwark Park, Bermondsey SE16 2UA


A group show of drawings by seven artists living within Greater London on the theme of the subconscious, primarily in black and white. The selected artists are: Jan Arden, Imma Maddox, Nigel Kingsbury, Hannah Swain, Billy Weston, Pat Mear and Terence Wilde. A small selection of works by Outsider Artist Nick Blinko will also feature in the space.

The exhibition runs from 4 - 21 September 2014

Pallant House Gallery set up Outside In in 2006 to provide a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world either because of mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance.

Pat Mear
PATHWAYS AND PEBBLES

at The Long Gallery
2 October 2014 to 5 January 2015
Monday to Sunday 9am to 7pm
A complex journey through art and life with appreciation of help from the Maudsley Hospital and Bethlem Gallery

The Long Gallery | Maudsley Hospital | Denmark Hill | London | SE5 8AZ
 
Memories of being a female student at the
NATIONAL FILM & TV SCHOOL in 1977

 by Toni de Bromhead
The National Film School, as it was known then, was only six years old when it was decided, as a matter of policy, to give half the places to women in their 1977 intake. I was one of these women, and there were about ten of us. Until then they had taken in a few women, but most of the students had been men. This policy reflected the changing climate and attitude towards women in a time when the feminist movement was robust and awareness was beginning to change, even in film which was traditionally a tough alpha male domain. In fiction women were welcome as continuity girls and personal assistants, but not much else though there were some women directors, for instance the avant-guard filmmaker, Sally Potter. In documentary it was easier, there were more women directing, but none the less it was still dominated by men and most women tended to work as researchers. What seemed to be universal was that only very few women indeed could be found doing the technical jobs, that is sound and camera,  though many more could be found editing.
 
Of the women in my intake, Belinda aspired to be a lighting camera-woman, the two Jennies (as we called them), Carine and Conny wanted to make fiction films, two women were in animation as I recall, and Celia was interested in art direction. My own aim was to become a camera/director of documentary films, something that the union at that time didn’t even allow. So none of us were modest in our ambitions, and we were extremely determined.
 
The school was, by and large, very supportive of us and because it’s system of teaching was student-led we could choose the tutors that interested us, either from within the school or from outside in the industry. None the less some of the tutors were a little problematic and did show overt scepticism of women doing certain jobs, but we could usually avoid these ones. However I do not recall any of us being strongly feminist in the sense of being activists. Rather we were very aware of feminism, we took it into account, it informed what we expected from the school, it affected our view of life, and it influenced the subject matter or the approach of our films. But I think more than anything else we saw the nature of our challenge being a practical one, by which I mean the first level of our endeavour was to prove to men that we could do it - otherwise there would be no work for us in the industry once we left film school.
 
Looking back it seems extraordinary, but I recall one of our chief concerns being never to let a man help us carry equipment. We were working with 16 mm film, the camera was cumbersome and the sound recorder was very heavy, so when we were carrying equipment in their awkward silver boxes it was a great temptation to hand it over to any man who came running forward to relieve us of this burden. But we agreed between ourselves that this was something that we must never allow and so we struggled on our own with weights that were often too heavy.
 
When I shot my first student exercise in a Greek taverna in Charlotte Street, I used an all woman crew. I remember there being a group of Thames TV technicians having lunch there. They verbally attacked us, quite aggressively, and unquestionably tried to diminish us, even questioning our right to film in a public place. This illustrates the climate we were dealing within the industry.
 
There were so few women out there that when feminist director Deedee Glass (ex film school) made a film for the BBC, Fats and Figures (1979), in which she investigated the slimming industry, she employed another graduate as her camera-woman, but couldn’t find a female sound recordist which she needed for certain sensitive scenes. I was therefore asked to help with the sound, holding the microphone in the room whilst a male sound recordist stayed outside monitoring levels. It is curious how feminist issues in film at that time seemed to revolve around food, lesbianism, and choices that women might make - either in work or relationships. One student film I worked on as a sound recordist was about Susan Orbach and her ground-breaking book Fat is a Feminist Issue. I also did sound on a fiction film, Life Chances, that was made by students for the Equal Opportunities Commission, in which women from different backgrounds considered different work possibilities. I believe the film was used to stimulate discussion at meetings, but what is most interesting today is that all the women shown in the film were white, which would not be possible now.
 
Two factors helped us when we left the school. One was that we built up a network of friend-colleagues within the school whilst we were students, and we took this out with us into the real world. So male and female directors from the school might use Belinda to do camera,  I employed a friend from the school to do sound, and so on. This meant that we gave each other work but also, more significantly perhaps, it helped us to avoid crews that were prejudiced against women. The other thing that helped us enormously was the arrival of Channel 4 Television which, at that time, had a mandate to be experimental and to deal with minority subjects. So there were programmes made about and by women and people of other ethnic origins.
 
We were all quite successful when we left the school. One of the Jennies became producer for the very talented and successful Terence Davies (Distant Voices, Still Lives), who was also in our year. Belinda became a lighting-camerawoman and shot Veronica Four Rose, a documentary for CH.4 about young lesbians. Celia became a successful art director and eventually worked on Harry Potter. Carine was funded by the BFI to make Under the Skin,which she wrote and which is described as being “a contribution to British feminist theory and its expression through cinema”. Conny wrote and directed Nanou, which is about the changing power relations within a couple as the woman gains better insight and understanding of herself. This film was shown at the Curzon cinema. And, finally, I made a documentary trilogy for CH.4 which compared aspects of life in an English village with a Provencal village and, amazingly, I was given union exception to do the camera myself!
 
However I think it’s true to say that none of us fully realized our potential in the longer term, and this makes depressing reading. Either marriage or children came into the equation, or quite simply a dislike of contending with the highly competitive world of cinema and television. In other words for most if not all of us, there was more to life than our career. The situation within the fiction film industry hasn’t changed that much, and even in documentary there may still be more men than women. This is food for thought.

Toni de Bromhead, September 2014
 



SLWA Artist Crits for
Finders Keepers Losers Weepers show
The collaborating artists of Finders Keepers Losers Weepers gather for the first of the crits set for our residency at Conway Hall in November. New member and guest artistLiz Atkin kicked off the talks at Melissa Budasz and Christine Landreth's studio at Creekside Artists studio space at the Biscuit Factory, SE16. 

Professor Rebecca Fortnum of Middlesex University led the 2nd crit at Lucy Soni's studio at Acme studios, SE15.

Artist Aleksandra Mir will lead the next crit at Beata Kozlowska's studio at Studio Voltaire in Clapham on Wednesday 8 October, 2014.

 

SLWA Book Club 
Next Book Club date Wednesday 21 January 2015 7-9pm at Melissa's house

List of Autumn titles: 
The Vagenda: A Zero Tolerance Guide to the Media by Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
As students, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Holly Baxter spent a lot of time laughing at magazine pieces entitled things like '50 Sex Tips to Please Your Man' (particularly the ones that encouraged bringing baked goods into the bedroom). They laughed at the ridiculous 'circles of shame' detailing minor weight fluctuations of female celebs, or the shocking presence of armpit hair. And at the articles telling you how to remove cellulite from your arse using coffee granules. But when they stopped laughing, they started to feel a bit uneasy. Was this relentless hum about vajazzles and fat removal just daft - at worst a bit patronising - or was something more disturbing going on? Was it time to say NO? They thought so. So they launched The Vagenda blog in 2012, and now they have written this laugh-out-loud book. It is a brilliantly bolshy rallying call to girls and women of all ages. Caitlin Moran asked 'How to be a Woman': The Vagenda asks real women everywhere to demand a media that reflects who we actually are.

The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend
A funny and touching novel about what happens when someone stops being the person everyone wants them to be. 'Laugh-out-loud . . . a teeming world of characters whose foibles and misunderstandings provide glorious amusement. Something deeper and darker than comedy' Sunday Times. The day her twins leave home, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she's wanted to yell at the world, 'Stop! I want to get off'. Finally, this is her chance.

Alina Szapocznikow - Sculpture Undone by : 1955-1972 by Elena Filipovic and Joanna Mytkowska 
A sculptor who began working during the postwar period in a classical figurative style, Alina Szapocznikow radically reconceptualized sculpture as an imprint not only of memory but of her own body. Though her career effectively spanned less than two decades (cut short by the artists premature death in 1973 aged 47), Szapocznikow left behind a legacy of provocative objects that evoke Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme and Pop art. Her tinted polyester casts of body parts, often transformed into everyday objects like lamps or ashtrays; her poured polyurethane forms; and her elaborately constructed sculptures, which at times incorporated photographs, clothing or car parts, all remain as wonderfully idiosyncratic and culturally resonant today as when they were first made. 

List of past titles:
Possession by AS Byatt
Managing Monsters and/or Monuments & Maidens by Marina Warner
Contemporary Art & Memory: Images of recollection and remembrance by Joan Gibbons
Contemporary British Women Artists : In Their Own Words by Rebecca Fortnum
Old Mistresses by Rozsika Parker & Griselda Pollock
The Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

We have 20 members on our book club mailing list - if you are interested in joining please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Upcoming SLWA Events, Shows & Talks
September 2014 to March 2015
HIDDEN NARRATIVES DANGEROUS ERASIONS
by theWHYfront
Part of Deptford X London's Contemporary Art Festival
devised by Melissa Budasz & Laura Moreton-Griffiths
The Albany Friday 26 Sept to Sunday 5 Oct 2014

theWHYfront (
aka SLWA artists) return to Deptford one year on from the launch of A Public Airing project, with an ambitious live collaborative drawing with the aim of promoting a better understanding of the role of women artists historically and in a current context. A visual story-board of 18 frames looks back through time and history at female art from cave painting, medieval tapestry and participation in the guilds, renaissance painting and sculpture through to Victorian portraiture and still life, early photography, surrealism, abstract expressionism, performance art and art to date. We are keen to identify the impact and relevance of the hidden narratives in contemporary culture, related specifically to key interests and concerns addressed by female artists today.

HIDDEN NARRATIVES DANGEROUS ERASIONS visually presents a story of female artists, well-known and not so well-known, connected to and operating at times of influence. Part of The Big Draw (the world's biggest drawing festival), this live drawing event will take place in the Foyer of London's leading word, music, theatre venue The Albany during the Deptford X Festival 2014. theWHYfront will collaboratively draw the 5.1 m story-board in front of a watching public 26-27 September and 29 September-5 October 2014, 12-6 pm daily.

Collaborative artists
Julie Bennett, Jackie Brown, Melissa Budasz, Robina Doxi, Chantal Gillingham, Laura Moreton-Griffiths, Margaret Higginson, Paula Stevens-Hoare, Moira Jarvis, Liz Charsley-Jory, Beata Kozlowska, Jennie Merrell, Lesley O'Mara, Marnie Pitts, Gillian Best-Powell, Mary Thomas Rodriguez, Selena Steele, Chrissy Thirlaway, Eithne Twomey

PRIVATE VIEW 3-5 pm, SUNDAY 5 OCTOBER 2014. ALL WELCOME.

Here are some pictures of SLWA members drawing live at The Albany
 
Finders Keepers Losers Weepers - Conway Hall
4 November 2014 to 28 February 2015
 
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square
Laura Moreton-Griffiths
gives an insight into her ideas and work for SLWA's residency at Conway Hall Finders Keepers Losers Weepers
Mary Wollstonecraft, eighteenth-century English writer, philosopher and proto-feminist and the radical activism of the Ethical Society, inform recent site-specific drawings as objects for our November exhibition at Conway Hall. Using collage, I draw together visual and sociopolitical narratives of matriarchs and monsters, hyenas and feral children.

The title of the residency ‘Finders Keepers Losers Weepers’ is a contradictory adage. It is a rhyme sung in childhood and often erroneously applied; in law, if you find a thing, you must go to all reasonable lengths to find its owner, rarely can you just keep it. Subconsciously, perhaps, we are aware the chant is in some way wrong, because it is sung as a taunt, turning someone’s loss to another’s advantage, an idea into an accepted truth. It is because adages connect us with our desires and fears, that they have the power to shape the way we think and how we construct our societies, prospering some at a cost of others.

Wollstonecraft understood this tacit process of social programming and that obstacles in the path to equality are not natural or divine. She wanted the power of ‘kings, priests and statesman’ removed; and called for change in education - boys to be brought up outside of male dominated society and girls to take control of themselves. Wollstonecraft railed against the gender conventions and romantic illusions of her day. She wanted women to aspire to the dignity of human beings. Thinking Marie Antoinette emblematic of all that was wrong with female humanity, the author publicly attacked the French queen, calling her ‘a hot-house flower’. Horace Walpole countered defensively calling Wollstonecraft a 'hyena in a petticoat'. At once transmuting her into a cackling, carnivorous animal, dressed in women’s clothing. Simultaneously, Walpole had called into question her basic humanity, creating an abomination in nature, and unwittingly, supported her claim that she would be the first of what she called ‘a new genus’ (a woman who supports herself by her writing). It is this monstrous half-being, that I am interested in - a dystopian and fanciful thought, a woman armed with an inky quill, who wrote about raising boys and bringing up daughters.

Walpole would have been unaware of the latent power of his defamatory smear; in nature, hyenas are one of the few animals that live in a clan matriarchy. A single alpha female leads the pack, with all the girls taking precedent over the males; adult males eat last. A mother can choose the sex of her female offspring by passing onhigh amounts of testosterone, to produce larger, stronger and more aggressive girls. This also transforms the female genitalia. An adult female hyena’s clitoris is a 6 or 7-inch long pseudo penis and the labia are fused together resembling a scrotum. Hyena females chose not to mate with aggressive males, instead, selecting charming, calm, and patient mates; courtship can last a year. The female is always completely consensual in sex.

Refusing to be bound by political and moral rules Mary Wollstonecraft was dramatic in life, love and sex: aged fifteen she declared she would never marry, she demonstrated undying love for her best-friend Fanny Blood, and infatuated, took herself to the door of painter and art writer Henry Fuseli, to whose wife, Sophia, she suggested a ménage à trois. Turned down and humiliated, she fled to Paris, a ‘spinster on the wing’ to write about the revolution. There she entered into a passionately sexual relationship with American Revolutionary War soldier and trader Gilbert Imlay, to whom she gave her virginity aged thirty-four.  A serial philanderer, he wasn’t faithful, despite their having a child together. An unmarried mother, she returned to England with her daughter Fanny. Several desperate attempts to reunite, lead Wollstonecraft to take an overdose of laudanum.  Unsuccessful in ending her life, she tried again, rowing herself from Chelsea to Putney to jump from the bridge. Again unsuccessful, she was pulled from the Thames and revived in a local inn. Surprisingly, shortly after, her wounded heart found its way to William Godwin, foremost radical philosopher of the period. They enjoyed a brief loving marriage, before she died of puerperal fever eleven days after giving birth to their daughter Mary Godwin.  As she lay dying, Dr. Fordyce, her doctor and a family friend, believing her ‘milk gone astray’ and toxic, and about to reach her womb and poison her - removed her newborn child, substituting suckling puppies to draw off the milk.
 

Yet again, albeit, unintentionally, this radical, freethinking woman, was turned into a monstrous half-being; a reduction that leaves a savage and pitiful image impressed upon the mind. In death, she was positioned outside of nature, her principles undermined; in England, Wollstonecraft was a singular advocate of breastfeeding. Contrarily, in revolutionary France, a mother’s milk was considered the ’nectar of the age of reason’, vital sustenance of republicanism. Of interest also, is the foundation myth of empire builders, Romulus and Remus, twin boys suckled by a she-wolf. What of Wollstonecraft’s daughters? Fanny, who was three when her mother died, was twenty-one when she killed herself with an overdose of the same poison her mother had taken. Her half-sister, Mary Godwin, eloped with and married proto-socialist Shelly. She was half way through her novel, Frankenstein, and mourning the death of her premature daughter when she received the news. Both deaths will have tragically given colour to the melancholic tale of a newborn man that unloved becomes a monster.
 
A final monster of interest is a female hybrid, fashioned from misogynies. Durer said the perfect nude should be made up of the different body parts of different women, the head of one, the neck and shoulder of another, the arm of another and so on. Evoking this selective process, I have assembled a monster for Mary Wollstonecraft. The face is constructed using the death masks of Rousseau and Edmund Burke, whose writings and aristocratic propaganda, Wollstonecraft countered with ‘Thoughts on the Education of Daughters’ and ‘Vindication of the Rights of Men’ respectively. The body is made of imagery that make reference to the societal hegemony Wollstonecraft wanted to end: the controlling influence of superstition, tradition and custom, church and the clergy, the hereditary privilege of monarchy and aristocracy, the tyranny of the military. She was writing at the time when wife beating was a right. A theme that runs trough all of my work is the resonance between then and now. Backwards into the future…
 
I will be making a presentation of new work at The Asylum Chapel, Peckham SE15 2SQ
27 March 2015
 
Symposium - Conway Hall
A night of insight and debate - with performances from Liz Atkin & Léonie Cronin and poetry from Joan Byrne

Thursday 20 November 2014, 7-9, followed by a drinks reception

Joan Byrne is a poet and photographer. She aims to record and comment on life’s absurdity, loveliness, humour and pathos.
 
She has read her poems at various venues including the Poetry Café, Peckham Literary Festival, the Literary and Philosophical Society, the libraries of Southwark, several London galleries (including at a couple of SLWA exhibitions) and the Republic Bar in Tasmania. Her work has been published in the small press and poetry webzines. She also writes short stories, several of which have been published.
 
She is a member of the Poetry Society’s Southwark Stanza and is one of the Rye Poets. 
 
SLWA artist Liz Atkin will illustrate the theme of sanctuary in a site-specific performance of her solo show Curdled at the Dragon Cafe in September in SE1. TheDragon Cafe regular activities will be beautifully complemented by visiting curators from the Bethlem Museum & Art Gallery. They are set to deliver a fascinating programme of films, talks, object handling sessions, art, dance, songs and music all exploring creative and psychiatric forms of sanctuary down the ages. Through body-focussed repretitive behaviour, Atkin will explore sensations of anxiety and sanctuarywith tangled hair and her own skin with vivid paint to illustrate and transform the space

We look forward to Liz's performance the night of the Symposium at Conway Hall.

A Chaired panel of 3 Speakers will expand and explore abstract notions around being, knowing, identity, time and space, giving a major contribution on the contemporary discourse of these enduring questions. The evening will also include stand-up poetry and performances followed by a drinks reception.

This Symposium co-incides with South London Women Artists Collaborative residency and site-specific exhibition at Conway Hall -Finders keepers losers weepers (4 November 2014 to 28 February 2015), an exhibition that is prompted by the creative and independent thought and free speech behind the Conway Hall Ethical Society, 1787 to date. Finders Keepers Losers Weepers is a school-ground chant and is an English adage with the premise that when something is unowned or abandoned, whoever finds it can claim it. Taking the artwork as a starting point, this panel of 4 prominant female experts in the fields of art, philosophy and science will discuss the rhyme and explore the broader issues of mind, memory, possession and loss.
To book your ticket (up to 2) click on this link 
Eventbrite

CHAIRED BY Professor Rebecca Fortnum, School of Art & Design, Visual Arts - Middlesex University. Rebecca Fortnum is an artist and academic. Her awards include Pollock-Krasner Foundation, British Council, Arts Council of England, British School in Rome, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Space for 10 mid-career award and METHOD Cultural Leadership Programme. 
SPEAKER : Margaret CarlyleSSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History & Philosophy of Science - University of Cambridge. Having received her PhD in 2013 from the Department of History at McGill University onCultures of Anatomy in Enlightenment France (c.1700–c.1795), Margaret Carlyle's thesis was a study of the interplay between the rise of anatomy as a subject experienced by polite amateurs and its consolidation as a branch of experimental science in eighteenth-century France. 
SPEAKER : Professor Tina Chanter, Head of School, HumanitiesFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Kingston University. Tina Chanter's research currently focuses on questions of aesthetics and politics. Recent publications have interrogated the philosophical, psychoanalytic and literary reception of Sophocles’ tragic heroine Antigone, an analysis of abjection in contemporary, independent film, and the need to reflect on how to theorise gender in a manner that explores its intrinsic and complex relationship to other categories such as race, class and sexuality.
SPEAKER: Jessica Voorsanger, Senior Lecturer Sculpture, School of Fine Art - UCA University of the Creative Arts. Jessica Voorsanger's work explores the concept of 'celebrity' within popular culture; through obsession, and their 'fans', and the ideology of fan culture. She currently believes that the present overwhelming domination of 'reality TV' has changed the concept of celebrity, so that it no longer just describes 'people of talent' - but the notorious also. 
 
Urban - at Brixton East
25 February to 11 March 2015
curated by Liz Charsley-Jory of Hide Gallery


As the director of Hide Gallery, which no longer has a dedicated exhibition space, I would like to hold a Hide Group Show at Brixton East, whose location and décor make it ideal for the theme of Urban. The windows of Brixton East, which was once the site of a furniture manufacturer, look out upon roads and the railway line,  and it is close to the busy hub of Brixton, which exemplifies the many themes of Urban or City.
 
Urban life: busy, cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, densely populated
Urban spaces: buildings, squares, parks,
Urban movement: bicycles, public transport, traffic
Urban culture: music, performance, poetry, art
Urbane attitudes: the definition of urbane is polished, sophisticated. Urban is often seen as superior to rural, more cultured and knowledgeable.
 
I think these themes offer our members plenty of scope for making work. The space is large enough to accommodate a number of works of all sizes, including 3D – there is also a cabinet for displaying more delicate work.


The exhibition will run from Feb 25 - Mar 11, incorporating International Women's Day March 8th. 
If you would like to take part in this exhibition, please send an expression of interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information to follow...

 
Death and Transition at Gabriel Fine Art Gallery
24 April to 8 May 2015
curated by Yolanta Gawlik, Illinca Cantacuzino and Joan Kendall

The subject of Death can be approached on a personal level or more universally.
The transition element suggests continuity, it's not about ending. It's about transformation. It's uplifting.
The above does not exclude other interpretation.

The Venue:
Gabriel Fine Art is located within 5 min walk from Lambeth North tube station, on the back of St Thomas' hospital, close to Westminster Bridge and next to the old burial ground. It is also in close proximity to Make Space Studios, which are placed on the site of the old train station used in 1848 for transporting the bodies of Cholera epidemic - all those connections with death are present there. The gallery's building, a beautiful old cottage, in located in the yard next to the park and opposite an art cafe. It has been a Buddhist centre for many years.

Here is the link about it: http://www.makespacestudios.com/
London_Art_Studios/MSS_site_history.html

If you would like to take part in this exhibition, please send an expression of interest to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information to follow...
 

 

SLWAnews

Contributing artists:
Liz Atkin
Julie Bennett
Toni de Bromhead
Melissa Budasz

Joan Byrne
Leonie Cronin
Yolanta Gawlik
Laura Moreton-Griffiths
Moira Jarvis
Liz Charsley-Jory
Anne Krinsky
Pat Mear
Pat Keay
Pia Randall-Goddard
Lucy Soni
___________________

Editor Melissa Budasz
Contributing Editors Laura Moreton-Griffiths, Moira Jarvis, Pia Randall-Goddard

 

If you would like to help collaborate with our next Newsletter for March 2015 or write a review on a show you have seen and would like to share, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please remember to like us on Facebook and Twitter.

SLWA ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

 

Celebrating 6 years of SLWA

 

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Wednesday 9 July 2014  7-9.30pm

 

 BRIXTON EAST

Brixton East 100 Barrington Road  Brixton  London SW9 7JF

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Come along to find out what SLWA have been up to over the last year, plans for the future and to have your say. This is also a great opportunity to meet new members and say hello to old members, to talk about what you have been up to and to get enthusiastic for the next SLWA year ahead. 

 

 

EXCITING NEWS - SLWA HAVE PUBLISHED THEIR FIRST BOOK

 

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In celebration of our successful installation in March 2013 I’m Inside Ring The BellA Contemporised Interpretation of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, SLWA have become our own publisher. The first of many books we plan to publish - this book will be for sale at the special price for £10 only (RRP £15) at the AGM. Please reserve your copy now, or pay in advance (with your Membership) for collection at the AGM. Alternatively you can pay £10 cash on the night. This offer will only be available at the AGM.

 

 

SAFTA Award

 

SLWA receiving their SAFTA Award at the Southwark Art Forum Awards, October 2013

Image courtesy of  VANEK

 

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Image courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ London

 

 Marvin Gaye Chetwynd talks about her work

 

STUDIO VOLTAIRE

 

Thursday 24 April 2014 from 7-9pm

 

 We are very pleased to announce this exclusive talk to SLWA members only by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, best known as 2012 Turner Prize nominee Spartacus Chetwynd at Studio Voltaire in Clapham.

Born in London 1973, Chetwynd first studied Anthropology at UCL before studying fine art at the Slade and Royal College of Art. Building an international profile exhibiting and performing in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and USA she is represented in London by Sadie Coles HQ. Her improvised peformances are reworkings of iconic moments from cultural history.

 

Chetwynd is currently showing at :

 

Sadie Coles HQ

69 South Audley Street

London W1

 

7 March to 26 April 2014

 

 

Projects and Commissions

2013 Hermitos Children - Episode 1, commission by Bloomberg and Studio Voltaire,
2012 Special commission by CNES (Centre National d'Études Spatiales) filmed at Le
Consortium, Dijon, France 1- 5 April
Illustrations for The Canterbury Tales for ‘Four Corners Familiars’ (London: Four Corners Books, 2012)

Residencies

2014 Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney, Australia
2013 Monteverdi, Tuscany, Italy
2012 R OPEN, Rogaland, Norway
2010 Villa Arson, Nice, France
2007 The British School in Rome, Abbey Fellowship
2007 Artspace, Sydney 2007
2006 The Call of the Wild, One Mile Program, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

Public Collections

Arts Council Collection, England
Le Consortium, Dijon, France
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland
Tate Collection, London

 

This talk is a ticketed event only, invited to all SLWA members through Eventbrite

 

 

 


Welcome to the first edition of SLWA's bi-annual newsletter. We want to develop and share inspiring multi-disciplinary content.


WHAT'S ON (and been on) - Artist Gallery Reviews
The Psychotropic House - XAP
Sunbury House
10-30 January 2014


Jody Gilby, who made the SLWA film of 'A Pubic Airing', was involved in a project of her own which we were keen to support. SLWA donated £100 towards this XAP project which was on for the month of January 2014 at Yinka Shonibare's Guest Projects space at Sunbury House in London E8. XAP are all graduates of Central St Martin's and had taken over the space as artists in residence. Their ambitious, experimental project, ‘The Psychotropic House’, is an evolving, interactive and multi-sensory art installation, inspired by the futuristic writings of J G Ballard. The bizarrely playful Psychotropic House combines traditional art media with interactive technology to create the interior of a house that responds to your presence.

A responsive Lounge reacts to touch; a Twitter feed provokes the Lounge; audio installations create sound-showers in the Whispering Gallery and the screaming Attic. Drifting walls make barriers insubstantial; a projected stairwell burrows into the floor; 2D paintings become mobile in live painting performances. The sensory installations invite engagement, involvement, bewilderment. Through ‘The Psychotropic House’, XAP explore the influences of art and technology, and how we affect the spaces we inhabit.

To read Laura Moreton-Griffith's review of XAP's Symposium held on 16 January, please click on the link here XAP SYMPOSIUM

OUT OF ICE - Elizabeth Ogilvie
Ambika 3 Gallery

17 January to 9 February 2014

Attached to the University of Westminster, Ambika P3 Gallery in Marylebone is a 1960's concrete block of 14,000 sq ft - an enormous space to fill! This dramatic and impressive space is used to host a range of architectural and environmental activities and multi-media, art and design events and shows. On entering the building there were a series of projected documentary films from the scientific expedition from Antarctica and interviews with local people and documenting their daily life. What really grabbed my attention taking a few steps down into a much darker space, Elizabeth Ogilvie uses the lower ground floor to maximum effect with two expansive pools of water into which sculptural ice forms slowly dissolve from above, breaking the still surfaces, huge meditative panoramic real time projections magnify the transitions from ice to water. Luminous pieces of ice hang as if in mid-air, and a film projection of ice wall strata appears motionless with only an occasional snowflake drifting by. There was no way of knowing how deep the water was as you walked around the edges in total darkness which added to the feeling of being in awe of the projected and real elements that surrounded you.

Described as one of the most significant artists of her generation in Scotland, Elizabeth Ogilvie has a strong track record in realising large scale projects which challenge conventions. Her work is a fusion of art, architecture and science, with water and ice as the main focus for her practice.

Written by Melissa Budasz

Traces - Ana Mendieta
Haywood Gallery
24 September - 15 December 2013


I managed to catch the exhibition of Ana Mendieta’s work at the Hayward Gallery before it closed just before Christmas. How had I nearly missed this stunning exhibition? As soon as I walked into the first room I was instantly drawn in to the way Mendieta had used her own body together with elemental materials such as earth, water, blood and fire. Her bodily traces were inscribed in blood, drawn on leaves, shrouded in the landscape with a palpable and urgent need to explore her relationship with place.The Siluetas (Silhouettes) are considered the core of her practice. As an exile from Cuba, in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, Ana Mendieta found solace in Mexico. There she created earth-body works that drew inspiration from customs and traditions concerning death and rebirth. These were essentially private works that she described as “a search to find my place, my context in nature”. Mendieta recorded her physical presence in outdoor locations using her own body but later replaced her actual body with its imprint. Mendieta died in tragic circumstances but her legacy lives on in work by many contemporary artists. In a recent exhibition, Home: Contemporary Female Masters at Sofia Gallery, Bulgarian Embassy London 11-19 October 2013, seven international artists explored how the rupture of cultural displacement fuels their work. Their ideas are best summed up by Lucy Lippard in 1997

 “The relationship of multicenteredness to identity is less acknowledged than that of either rootedness or placelessness. We come to a sense of belonging in a place by any number of different roads.”

Written by Moira Jarvis


SLWA Artist Crit - Lucy Soni's studio, Acme, SE15
4 December 2013 was the date of our Christmas Social at the Peckham Pelican and it was good to see current and new members celebrate together - thank you! Prior to our drinks, we organised an artist crit session at Lucy Soni's studio round the corner at ACME studios. Here are a few words from Lucy:

I felt it was a great success with a really good turn out and it was fantastic to hear people talk about their new work and generally about their practice. It was incredibly insightful and really allowed us to learn more about the artists' process, but also allowed the artists to ask the rest of the group for their opinions and advice.  I think the studio crit, on this occasion, had a spirit of real interest and encouragement from the SLWA members who came to listen and learn about their fellow SLWA members work. 



Written by Lucy Soni

BOOK CLUB - Caitlin Moran's 'How To Be a Woman'
Hosted by Moira Jarvis, 10 members came to the first SLWA book club and we discussed how Moran’s ideas were related to artists who deal with the body ie Jemima Stelhi. The discussion was lively with lots of agreement and disagreement, and has led to an on-going debate about the impact of the lack of recognition and documentation of women artists throughout history. Next Book Club date is Wednesday 23 April 2014 and we will be reviewing three books:

Old Mistresses by Rozsika Parker & Griselda Pollock – led by Louise Townsend
The Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft – led by Moira Jarvis and Laura Moreton Griffiths
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – led by Melissa Budasz
We have 20 members on our book club mailing list - if you are interested in joining please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Before I picked up the book ‘How to be a woman’ by Caitlin Moran, I have to confess I had never heard of her before, shameful for a woman who studied media I know. I began to read this book on the busy train home from the SLWArtists first book club and judging from the discussion about the book from the book club members, I have to admit that I couldn’t wait to start devouring it. The book is like a memoir of some of the more unforgettable, memorable (or in some instances) the most cringey moments of Ms Morans life. It opens on her thirteenth birthday, she is being chased by a group of local boys wilding stones, while she is desperately trying hard to run away in her NHS glasses, wellington boots, her dad's oversized army coat with a few extra pounds of puppy fat.

The book had me in hysterics most of the time, but there was also things that I didn’t feel I needed to know or was particularly comfortable with reading, especially her teen discovery/obsession for self-masturbation, after reading that chapter the thought of handing over this book to my young teenage daughter to read when I had finished became a NO NO! Maybe that’s just the prude in me. 
I loved the feminist aspect of the book and the fact that she isn’t afraid to not only use the word ‘feminist,’ but is proud to admit that she is one.

The word ‘feminist’ seems to conjure up some kind of unease in many women and it’s almost like the plague when mentioned in front of some. I think that Caitlin Moran is right, more women should be proud to label themselves as feminists. In fact after reading the fourth chapter in the book entitled ‘I Am A Feminist’ I too stood on a chair and declared loud and proud to an invisible audience that “I am a feminist” .. It was great personal therapy. 

The book is very cleverley written, and touches upon her personal struggle with adolescence, siblings, puberty, self-loathing, fashion, happy times, sad times, self-destructive times, her career and the heart break from the perils of being in destructive relationships. Her love for her husband and children that she writes of in this book really warmed my heart and her brutally honest experience with her own abortion and what lead her to make the heart breaking decision brought tears to my eyes. 


I don’t think that I have read a book that has brought about so many different emotions in me from start to finish, it definitely had me asking and emailing all my female friends “have you read this book yet..?” It has definitely made it into my top 10 list of favourite books and although I don’t think I have learned anything new on how to be a woman, one thing I do know is, being a woman is damn good fun..!

Written by Louise Townsend



Upcoming Events, Shows & Talks

Dr Alison Green talk on Carolee Schneemann at the ICA on 25th February - Alison gave a talk for SLWA on Carolee Schneemann in April last year at Hide Gallery, if you couldn't make it then, pen this event in your diary

APublicAiring - dates of our next flash-mob performance will be tweeted over the weekend 8/9 March

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd talk  (best known as 2012 Turner Prize nominee Spartacus Chetwynd) - 24 April 2014 (venue tbc)

Colourswatch - Espacio Gallery 5-17 June 2014, Private View Thursday 5 June 7-9pm

SLWA AGM - July 2014 (date & venue tbc)

Conway Hall Group show - Red Lion Square, Holborn - November 2014 (details to be confirmed shortly)

SLWA Symposium - look out for details of SLWA's 1st Symposium in our next Newsletter in September.


If you would like to help collaborate with our next Newsletter for September or write a review on a show you have seen and would like to share, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Please remember to like us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

COLOURSWATCH

 

  Colourswatch

 

 SLWA ARTISTS CALL FOR ENTRIES

ESPACIO GALLERY GROUP SHOW

 

5-17 JUNE 2014

 

 Curated by Reema Dreaming, Pat Keay & Chrissy Thirlaway

 

Many of us use colour as a key element in our work. We are inviting interest from members who may handle it expressively, employ it scientifically, address it from a political perspective or use it symbolically. With the response we are anticipating, this promises to be an exciting and vibrant show!

We are looking for 40 artists to create work in response to a colour, selected blind, at an event at the Espacio Gallery sometime in February. The work can be in any medium, and in 2 or 3 dimensions.

Please submit an expression of interest, in less than 100 words, by 31 January 2014 , stating why the challenge of responding to a given colour, which may not be in your usual palette or studio practice, excites you.

Send emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including Colourswatch in the title.

Also please attach a jpeg of one piece of art work to identify your genre, no bigger than 8 cm square at 300 dpi.

The show, in the prestigious Espacio Gallery in Shoreditch, runs for 2 weeks and the fees are as follows:

 

Work less than a metre square £60

Work over a metre square £90

No commission charge

 

There is also floor space for sculpture, a film room and an area for display in front of the large window. Please see www.espaciogallery.co.uk for further details.

The Private View evening will be on Thursday 5 June 2014.

 

‘ Colour is a human need like water and fire. It is a raw material indispensable to life.’

Fernand Leger