UK: Exhibition by 6 London-based women artists marks 80th anniversary of 1928 Equal Franchise Act Print E-mail
The Spare Room: Suffragette City
Curated by Tsering Frykman-Glen
221 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ
3 - 26 July 2008

Wednesday ­ Sunday, 12-6pm
Private view: 2nd July, 6-9pm


For our summer 2008 exhibition, Suffragette City, The Spare Room is proud to bring together work by six London-based women artists: Hannah Brown, Tsering Frykman-Glen, Elizabeth Reidy, Francis Richardson, Kate Terry and Amie Turnbull. Scroll down to read "In praise of ... Suffragette City"

The exhibition opens on July 2nd 2008, marking the 80th anniversary of all women winning the right to vote in the UK, with the long overdue passing of The Equal Franchise Act in 1928.

The Spare Room is a not for profit organisation that aims to bring artists and audiences together in temporary spaces outside of the traditional gallery setting. For the exhibition Suffragette City, The Spare Room has selected a disused warehouse in Bow, in London's East End. The area of Bow has a history as a focal point for many significant actions and processions in the votes-for-women movement. The exhibition space is situated on Bow Road, the same street where Sylvia Pankhurst set up her Suffragette Shop in 1912 and the site of the Match Girls’ strike of 1888.

Suffragette City bears witness to how far we’ve come in the past eighty years, striking an optimistic chord by presenting work solely by women artists, not as an act of defiance or protest, but to honor the spirit of independence and diversity among women.

Hannah Brown’s work references the English social and visual landscape and the way it is represented and re-produced through varying artistic language. Working within and against the omnipresent legacy of the English landscape tradition, she searches for places with a peculiar kind of beauty, an essence of the picturesque, the sublime or the uncanny. In the piece Tree Lump Brown has made a sculpture based on the concept of going into an image and coming out with an object, exploring the relationship between painting and sculpture. The result is something of a Frankenstein’s monster, both comical and sad as it looms over a small oil painting it was never part of.

Tsering Frykman-Glen likes to look at the obvious flaws in seeking perfection. In the making of her work she positively encourages the flaws and they play a major part in her aesthetic. Often her work is based around the ideas of utopia and dystopia. In her most recent work she has taken to making small houses and mountain shapes, covering them in cake decorations and putting them in or on chintzy crockery. With wonky chimneys and lumpy peaks they are a little sad, a little funny but also surprisingly beautiful.

Inspired by circumspect notions of bathos, idiosyncrasy, and tepid neurosis Elizabeth Reidy explores the gap between innate human emotive experience and the communal social language through which this becomes communicated in the everyday. She celebrates the space between feeling and expressing, as a sacred and tangible space neither here nor there, to be
explored, though never fully understood. A rare space in which it is possible to both hold on and let go, simultaneously.

Frances Richardson describes her sculptural works as “walk-in drawings”. The intent is that the viewer, does not stand apart regarding an object, or enter into an installation, but becomes part of an imaginary field within actual space. In this field tables, chairs, I-beams, floorboards, carpets, beds etc. are “drawn” using MDF/plywood in 3 dimensions. Paired down to structural forms they effect through their physical presence, denying the seduction of surface histories.

With coloured thread, Kate Terry creates sculptures and installations that combine low-grade construction with the sophistication of minimalist form. Working with patience and geometrical precision, she uses ordinary threads, pinning them meticulously and then guiding them as they twist and turn in diaphanous, web-like veils. Terry’s practice forms a dialogue between the colloquial world of craft and the formal language of Minimalism. The result is at once ethereal and powerful, manipulating both creative forms and their distinct visual vocabularies to create a renewed respect for both.

Amie Turnbull's work references mythology and fable filtered via contemporary culture. Working within the tradition of abstract painting Turnbull's work is characterised by a highoctane colour palette. The playful use of materiality and the pure joy of creation is especially evident within her work. Using multiple sources, and influenced by the handmade, a hybrid image is created; becoming somewhat like a cartographic documentation of the various strains
of ideas and imagination.

In conjuction with the Suffragette City exhibition we are running a small series of free events, details are listed below:
Thursday 3rd July, 7.30pm
Book reading and talk with writer Kia Abdullah

Dawn's Cafe, 219-221 Bow Road, E3 2SJ
Thursday 10th July, 8.30pm
Free screening of video works curated by Sheena Macrae, also barbecue and cold drinks!
219-221 Bow Road, E3 2SJ

Thursday 24th July, 7.30pm
Artist talks with Hannah Brown and Elizabeth Reidy
Dawn's Cafe, 219-221 Bow Road, E3 2SJ
For further information please contact:

07789 725 447
www.thespareroomproject.org

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 Wednesday July 2 2008, page 32

In praise of ... Suffragette City

Editorial

There are still a handful of women, aged at least 104, who were once barred from taking part in a UK general election because of their gender. After Edwardian struggles, women had finally won the vote in 1918 - but not all of them. To ensure men remained the majority, the female qualifying age was set at 30, rather than 21. That patriarchal rigging was put right only with a further change enacted 80 years ago today, a moment when nearly 2 million of today's grandmothers and great-aunts had already been born. To celebrate how far women have come in the decades since, a little gem of an exhibition featuring six female artists opens in a disused factory off Bow Road in London tonight. Yards from Sylvia Pankhurst's suffragette shop and close to the scene of the match girls' strike, the show is in the heart of Suffragette City, and that is its title. But the exhibits are not narrowly political: the great strength of the collection is its diversity. Sure, feminism may play a part in Tsering Frykman-Glen's use of chintzy crockery to celebrate the old-lady aesthetic. But that is only one of several themes in her quirky yet poignant installation. The mad mythical worlds of Amie Turnbull's psychedelia are in utter contrast to the English landscape tradition, to which co-exhibitor Hannah Brown provides a sculptural twist. Kate Terry's installation weaves great veils of string across outsize frames, with an effect that is at once disorientating and dreamy. The way women use art is just as varied as the way they use their votes.