The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram

14.11.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

‘But in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class and, above all, male,” Linda Nochlin wrote in her seminal essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? published in 1971. The essay highlights the ways in which institutional barriers have suppressed the voices of female artists throughout western history, acting as a foundational text for feminist art theory. It only takes a scroll through Katy Hessel’s Instagram account @thegreatwomenartists for one to be reminded of all the voices that were silenced; all the brave, provocative and breathtakingly intelligent female artists – from 18th century portrait painter Maria Verelst to sculptor Andrea Zittle to contemporary photographer Nydia Blas.

'Disgusting, Self Portrait', 2016 | © Antonia Showering

‘Disgusting, Self Portrait’, 2016 | © Antonia Showering

It is Instagram that has become the common denominator in the curation of Hessel’s first exhibition The Great Women Artists: Women on Instagram – an exhibition which will feature fifteen UK-based female artists who have used Instagram as a mechanism to showcase their work. Speaking to a following of over 600,000 Instagram users globally, these artists have a very powerful voice indeed.  The show questions what it means to be a female artist in an era dominated by notifications, and asks whether this has facilitated a greater emancipation from the instruments of oppression for the women of this generation?

The theme of the exhibition is interesting as it seeks to display the works by these artists in a way that has been rarely seen: face to face. We are encouraged to take our eyes off the cracked screen of one’s iPhone and flock to Mother, London this Thursday to engage with the work in a more tangible manner. One featured artist is Dolly Brown, or @londonlivingdoll, a visual and performing arts photographer based in London. When asked what viewers will find most surprising about her work when they see it in real life she remarked: ‘I think that after people become accustomed to seeing your images on a very small scale on their phone, it must be a pleasant surprise to see them printed large(r). The first time that I showed work “in real life” I printed as large as I possibly could, I think simply because I was so excited about the prospect of the images having a life outside of the phone. The hang that we are going for in this show is a grid so it replicates the way that the images are presented in Instagram, but I think this is also an indication of how the “gallery” on Instagram has encouraged me to shoot in series and to think about how all the pictures will look together when they are eventually posted.”

© Alice Aedy

© Alice Aedy

There is a broad range of participating artists, including Juno Calypso (@junocalypso), whose self portraits have won her prestigious awards including the Series Award at the 2016 British Journal of Photography International Award; Kate Dunn (@bellissi.mama), whose earthly toned oil paintings revive the traditional medium; and Unskilled Worker (@Unskilledworker), who has been commissioned by fashion’s great including photographer Nick Knight and brands such as Gucci. The artists conquer a wide array of themes including feminism, womanhood, politics, diversity, mental health, colour and form.

‘Whatever else Instagram is, it has given me the opportunity to work with artists and performers that I never would have been able work with, had it not been for the app, ‘Brown praises the medium for its ability to connect female artists globally – to share common issues, grievances and ideas. Whatever you do this Thursday, it might be worth getting off Instagram and coming down to see the exciting collision of female creativity in real life.

The exhibition is at Mother London, E2, from November 13-17th, by appointment only. 

Featured image by photographer Maisie Cousins

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Fall into Ruin: William E. Jones at The Modern Institute

24.03.2017 | Culture , Film | BY:

William E Jones, one of Los Angeles’ foremost independent film makers, once wrote of his work: “I am making my own explosions, in another context.” He was referring to the veneration of big budget Hollywood films to include explosions; Jones has created films which focus on visual stimulation rather than coherent narratives. Jones’ wide ranging body of work, such as feature length films Finished (1997) and Is It Really So Strange? (2004), have dealt with issues of sexuality, deception and artistic and social façades. Jones’ latest project Fall Into Ruin promises a return to these themes as it makes its debut at The Modern Institute, Glasgow.

In Fall Into Ruin, Jones converges with an equally impressionable and multifaceted character, that of Alexander Iolas, the eminent Greek art dealer. The film documents the artist’s return to the property of Iolas, situated in an Athenian suburb. The art dealer became well known for his affiliation with surrealists such as Max Ernst and his championing of late Picasso works. He remains a figure of mystery within the art world; indeed, his own age was never discovered due to the continual changes he made to his date of birth on his passport. Fall Into Ruin is an investigation into the life of the Iolas through a visual catalogue of the now uninhabited remnants of his homely estate. Once described as a showroom rather than a private residence, the film contrasts the current state of the building; vandalised, defaced by graffiti and looted of its contents – including his esteemed art collection. This makes an interesting comparison to Iolas himself, whom was said to mix with both the top sectors of society for business and the very bottom sectors of society for pleasure. Set among the warm, dusty Athenian landscape, the film explores the intersection of two opposing sides of the art market and marks a new fold in Jones’ ever flourishing career.

The running time of Fall into Ruin is exactly 30 minutes. Screenings will begin every half hour between 10 am – 6 pm (Monday – Friday) and 12 pm – 5 pm (Saturday) at The Modern Institute, Glasgow

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