Bringing together over 180 works by 81 women artists, A Room of Her Own “seeks to be a visual celebration of women and womanhood,” Irving Contemporary founder Vanessa Lacey explains.
Aiming to coincide with International Women’s Day, the online show is already open with the accompanying physical show in the East Oxford gallery kicking off on Thursday March 10.
“I wanted to create an opportunity to bring women artists together in an exhibition dedicated specifically to art work by women about women,” Vanessa explains.
“ONCE THE WAR IN UKRAINE DEVELOPED, THE CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS AGREED TO MAKE THE EXHIBITION A FUNDRAISER“
“Irving Contemporary has always been firmly committed to showing women artists in our gallery space, and the overwhelming majority of our artists are women,” she adds.
Women from all over the world entered in their droves, from as far afield as Iran and Australia, and Vanessa had to then hand pick the right pieces.
“The submissions came from art students, emerging artists, established artists, and artists at all stages in between. Some have formal art training, some are self taught. I wanted the show to be as inclusive as possible,” Vanessa adds.
“I’m also proud to be showing some artists local to Oxford as part of the show, including Emma Davis, Carrie Stanley, Alison Berrett, and Ania Ready,” Vanesssa adds.
Oxford artist Carrie Stanley and her daughter Lola are both included, which encapsulates the ethos and communality of the exhibition.
“It’s wonderful being in an exhibition with my daughter,” Carrie says.
“We haven’t consciously worked together yet but our work focuses on the human condition and familial relationships. We both use our art as a tool for conscious recognition of our experiences.”
More than that, A Room of Her Own is a visual celebration of women and womanhood, the physical and psychological spaces that women and girls inhabit, the female body and the female experience in its breadth and diversity.
Themes explored include body image, self identity, the challenges of motherhood, mental health, physical illness, loss and grief, memory and history, connection to nature and the landscape, and reactions to our domestic spaces and interiors, especially during the pandemic.
So what was the idea behind A Room of Her Own? “I wanted to celebrate all that women artists have achieved in continuing to create and make art during really challenging times.
“I run Irving Contemporary on my own, with two young children still at primary school, so I know very well the challenges that women in particular face in juggling roles,” she says.
However once the war in Ukraine developed, Vanessa and the contributing artists agreed to make the exhibition a fundraiser for Ukraine and its people, with a percentage of the proceeds going to support charities and organisations providing humanitarian support there.
“Every Friday between now and the end of the show, I will make a donation based on the previous week’s exhibition sales, shared between the Ukraine Appeals of the British Red Cross and UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee,” Vanessa confirms.
The artists participating in A ROOM OF HER OWN are: Agathe Bouton, Ale Bassett, Alice Watkins, Alison Berrett, Amy Wiggin, Ange Mullen-Bryan, Ania Ready, Anja Niedring, Anna Cady, Bianca MacCall, Caroline Cornelius, Caroline Streatfield, Carrie Stanley, Cat Knight, Daisy Jarrett, Ellie Bird, Emily Lucas, Emily Stevens, Emma Davis, Esmé Clutterbuck, Esther Cox, Esther Donaldson, Fiona G. Roberts, florence Libotte, Gabrielle Eber, Gemma Petrie, Haley Craw, Hannah Turner-Duffin, Harland Viney, Harriet White, Heather McAteer, Helen Cass, Inge du Plessis, Jane Bennett, Jemima Stilwell, Jen Gash, Jeni Johnson, Jess Allen, Jo Dumpleton, Julie Poulsen, Kate Boucher, Kate Shooter, Katherine Sheers, Katya Granova, Katya Kvasova, Kerry Doyland, Laura Bell, Linda Schwab, Lola Stanley, Loubna Rizqi, Louisa Longstaff-Scales, Lou Blakeway, Lucia Jones, Lucy Barnfather, Lucy Cade, Lucy Spanyol, Lucy Ward, Mary West, Maryam Dehbozorgi, Maxine Foster, Maya Beason, Michelle Boyle, Miyeon Yi, Nick Grellier, Olivia Browne, Olivia Mansfield, Rachel Jeffers, Sadie Tierney, Sal Jones, Sam Vicary, Sara Farhadi, Sarah Garvey, Sarah Jane Hender, Serena Curmi, Sharon McPhee, Sheridan Jones, Susannah Douglas, Tania Skeaping, Tina Hayes, Zena Blackwell.
A ROOM OF HER OWN at Irving Contemporary continues online until April 24, while the physical show opens in the gallery from Thursday March 10 – Friday April 8. For more information go to https://www.irvingcontemporary.com/exhibitions