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Women Artists: Power and Presence at Otter Gallery

A NEW exhibition seeking to address an ‘imbalance’ of how women artists are represented in art galleries is to open at the University of Chichester.

Women Artists: Power and Presence, at the Otter Gallery, showcases selected work from the collections held at the University of Chichester and Swindon Museum and Art Gallery alongside significant loans from private stores in the UK.

The exhibition, which runs from Saturday 18 February to Tuesday 18 April, seeks to address an imbalance in the way genders are represented in art galleries, said curator Dr Gill Clarke who is a Visiting Professor at the Otter Gallery.

She added: “The title ‘Women Artists’ is intentionally provocative: the term should not be used as a label or box in which to pigeon hole an artist but rather as means to express the fact that women – like men – have many varying inspirations, aesthetics, and ideas."

The variety of styles, subjects, and medium in the show is, according Dr Clarke, to highlight that women artists cannot be categorised into a singular identity, while some works directly engage with gendered subject matters and in others gender is subtler or immaterial to the artist.

It celebrates the varied contributions to the spirit and practice of British art by notable artists including Annie Kevans, Eileen Agar, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Vanessa Bell, Sandra Blow, Prunella Clough, Mary Fedden, Gluck, Maggi Hambling, Gwen John, Alice Kettle, Mali Morris, and Lucie Rie.

Dr Clarke added: “Through over 40 varied works including paintings, ceramics, and wall hangings the exhibition reappraises the work of both distinguished and lesser-known women artists seeking not to create a false homogeneity but rather to explore a range of traditions and styles with which they were involved.

“Their life stories are as compelling as the diverse work they produced and taken together this enables the revealing of a more complex picture of their contribution to the practice and spirit of British art than might be first thought.”

Dr Gill Clarke

Exhibition opening times

University term time: Saturday 18 February to Friday 31 March – Monday to Friday: 9am to 9pm | weekend opening: 11am to 6pm

University holiday period: Saturday 1 April to Tuesday 18 April – Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm | closed weekends

Additional talks

Wednesday 8 March - 12:30pm to 2pm

Dr Gill Clarke and Swindon Museum and Art Gallery curator Sophie Cummings will lead tours exploring the themes in the exhibition to coincide with International Women’s Day.

A screening of a short documentary exploring the creation of the Bishop Otter Art Collection at the University of Chichester will also be screened to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Wednesday 29 March – 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Dr Gill Clarke will repeat the tours and speak about the themes of the exhibition.

Find out more

For more about the Women Artists: Power and Presence exhibition visit the Otter Gallery at the University’s Bishop Otter campus, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6PE.

Alternatively to or contact

Photo: Wilhelmina Barns Graham, Jupiter's Dream, 1998. courtesy of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust