Women have always been integral to the institution of art but, despite this, many women artists have found opposition in the narrative of art history, facing difficulty in gaining recognition.
Modern Masters Women at Edinburgh’s The Scottish Gallery seeks to look back as well as forward, celebrating major female artists throughout their history. The exhibition revisits some of the great names of the past and others less well known today and most importantly invites many leading current painters to participate.
Over the last hundred years, the exhibition history at The Scottish Gallery has included all major female Scottish artists and many who made contributions in an era when sexism was routine. The art world was no exception to this gender bias and, often, women were regarded as models, mistresses and muses rather than candidates for the Academy.
The exhibition includes works by: Anne Redpath (1895 - 1965), Lily Cottrell (1896 - 1984), Winifred McKenzie (1905 - 2001), Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912 - 2004), Joan Eardley (1921 - 1963), Bet Low (1924 - 2007), Barbara Balmer (1929 - 2017), Mardi Barrie (1930 - 2004), Pat Douthwaite (1934 - 2002), Sylvia Wishart (1936 - 2008), Lil Neilson (1938 - 1998), Elizabeth Blackadder, Victoria Crowe, Kate Downie, Claire Harkess, Angie Lewin, Hannah Mooney, Emily Sutton and Frances Walker.
Artists like Anne Redpath and then Joan Eardley earned their senior positions in Scotland's artists’ firmament by right and the next generation supped at the top table with their male peers without novelty or a sense of gratitude. When Victoria Crowe first showed with The Scottish Gallery in 1970 it was the appraisal of her commercial potential along with her originality as a painter which made the exhibition so satisfying.
Modern Masters Women strives to emphasise the individual commercial potential of each artist, making no apology in taking an exclusive curatorial position.
The Scottish Gallery recommends that all visitors book an appointment to allow for maintained social distancing. Additionally, the exhibition and the accompanying publication can be viewed online. Audiences will also have the opportunity to take watch online events including lectures and meet the artist opportunities as well as films, blogs and podcasts.