This new exhibition recognises the lives of Brisbane's independent and adventurous women artists over the past 100 years. It's a snapshot of the art and back stories of ground-breaking women from 1920 to the present day. And trailblazing women are still taking the lead in the local art scene.
You can view amazing artworks from more than 80 artists by the decade. It showcases a wide range of media such as painting, photography, sculpture, performance and installation works all brought together for the first time. It starts with Brisbane's decreasing isolation, to the introduction of the new ideas of modernism and abstract art to contemporary works, many of which are internationally highly regarded. Over 110 works are featured in the gallery.
Significant 1920s artists, Daphne Mayo and Vida Lahey, forged careers as professional artists requiring personal sacrifice. Many women artists left Brisbane to gain education and experience before being recognised for their talents and achievements. Brisbane's distance from the major world cultural centres of Europe meant a resourceful and close-knit arts community that fostered teachers, leaders in their fields and pioneers who have left a legacy, empowering future artists.
Director Renai Grace and Lady Mayoress at the Exhibition (May Cross)
Director of MoB, Renai Grace, said at the launch, "New Woman will reveal the stunning works of female pioneers, their evolving practice and the identity of women artists in Brisbane. The exhibition draws upon our collections, loans as well as commissioned works, highlighting women of the past, present and future, documenting their changing role and acknowledging diversity".
Some of my favourite art game-changers include Tracey Moffatt, Margaret Cilento, Kath Walker, Judy Watson, Glen Henderson, Emma Coulter, Rachael Haynes, Donna Marcus and Margaret Olley (which ties in nicely with Olley's current exhibition at QAGOMA). Donna Marcus is featured with her Slide sculpture 1999, made from aluminium teapots which has previously been displayed in the museum. Her large scale public work Steam 2006 in Reddacliff Place is made from vegetable steamers. You may have spotted a couple of these 15 spheres on my Weekend Notes profile picture.
MoB has commissioned two contemporary female artists to contribute to the New Woman theme. Emma Coulter has transformed the museum's Dome Gallery with big, bold colourful patterns. Her new large-scale mural, "Spatial Deconstruction #21 (Portals)" uses a bright palette in response to the building's architecture. A riotous explosion of colour sets the scene for the current vibrant exhibitions.
The Adelaide Street Pavilion room has a family-friendly activity space by Rachael Haynes exploring empowerment and equality. Rachael will facilitate a series of collaborative banner-making workshops, the results of which will be installed at the Women of the World Festival Brisbane in 2020.
In conjunction with the exhibition is a programme of workshops, talks and tours led by artists, academics and historians. From life drawing in The Studio to sketching sessions in the gallery, MoB is providing a range of special events and activities. The Museum will also be hosting a special morning tea with Chairman Sallyanne Atkinson AO to celebrate a century of women artists. Panel discussions on feminism, women in architecture, and art history will also take place.
Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue featuring an essay by Louise Martin-Chew and curator Miranda Hine, reflecting on the artists and works featured in the show, as well as the contributions made by notable female artists to the Brisbane art scene. The New Woman catalogue is available for purchase from MoB Gift Shop and online. For further details see the MoB website.