There’s a mini revolution going on in Cumbria and it begins with an F. An F that sings from the top of the trees with its fresh and focused Female dynamic.
‘Female Trouble’ features the artwork by two powerful women, Rebecca Scott’s vivid contemporary paintings, alongside the etchings of Dame Paula Rego. Scott playfully imitates the glorified magazine pages from the likes of Vogue, Harpers and Tatler whilst simultaneously scorning the fashion and beauty industries.
In a heightened world of #MeToo and Harvey Weistein, complicit photographers, assaults and inappropriate behaviour towards actors and models (female and male), these could easily be ongoing themes within Scott’s paintings. Hidden secrets, dirty laundry, non-disclosure agreements and underhand deals lend themselves well next to the demons in Paula Rego’s drawings and etchings.
Rego’s darker side is much more explicit. She hides nothing and reveals everything. Dark narratives are drawn from seemingly innocent children’s stories. Folk tales, nursery rhymes and fairytales take on sinister story lines – female mutilation, sex, sexism, abortion, birth, death, depression and violence. Rego channels her own personal experience of love, family and sex to recounting her grandmother’s gruesome bedtime stories as a child.
“The viewer is instantly absorbed and immersed in the emotion expressed through rich sensuous colours and fluid, generous but bold brushstrokes prominent in Scott’s paintings, whilst at the same time Rego’s etchings subtly vibrate in the exhibition’s inner room which acts as a womb, or a heart;” Vanya Balogh, Curator
Both artists are rebellious. Conscious of the ways women are portrayed, the way they look, act, think and feel. Scott scribbles and defaces magazine images in defiance of these hidden truths, falsehood and prejudice.
Nor do they standalone in their insurgence. A title show this Summer from the Abbot Hall celebrates the work of one of the most exciting British sculptors of the 20th century, Elizabeth Frink. As well as their inspiring painterly display ‘Women of the Royal Academy – RA250’. Lastly, ‘Fusion’ a group exhibition by Green Door Artists at the Brewery Arts Centre makes up of a large proportion of female artists.
On until 24th August
Cross Lane Projects