NEWS: Challenging Convention @ Laing Art Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Image: A Dark Pool, c.1917 by Laura Knight / Laing Art Gallery © Reproduced with permission of The Estate of Dame Laura Knight DBE RA 2020. All Rights Reserved / Bridgeman Images

A new exhibition at Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery aims to shine a spotlight on four inspirational female artists from the 20th Century whose work had a significant impact on the profile of women artists within traditional institutions and in the public eye.

The works of Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Laura Knight (1877-1970), Gwen John (1876-1939) and Dod Procter (1890-1972) reflected the almost constant struggle to challenge the constraints of the patriarchal society they were born into in a time of radical change, burgeoning modernism and increasing emancipation.

Challenging Convention takes a deep-dive into the work of these four extraordinary women, demonstrating the changing attitudes of their times, and the evolving emotional and intellectual landscapes. “Challenging Convention celebrates four extraordinary women who pursued artistic careers with determination and imagination,” says Lizzie Jacklin, Keeper of Art at the Laing Art Gallery. “From quietly expressive interior scenes to bold experiments with colour and form, the paintings on display highlight the remarkable achievements of four of Britain’s most important early twentieth century artists.”

Julie Milne, Chief Curator of the Laing, Hatton and Shipley Art Galleries, says: “Issues of gender equality will have a particular resonance for audiences at a time where challenges of economic hardship, unstable work and child care caused by the pandemic are disproportionally affecting UK women.”

Running as a companion exhibition at the gallery, WOW: Women Only Works on Paper features over 50 watercolours and pastels, etchings and screenprints by accomplished and acclaimed female artists working in the first part of the 20th Century.

Challenging Convention is at Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle from Monday 17th May-Saturday 21st August

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