6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Sussex Life today click here

‘Good Figures’ exhibition - April/May 2015

PUBLISHED: 14:58 02 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:58 02 March 2015


An exhibition of 30 contemporary female artists who depict the female form - Downland Jerwood Gridshell, West Sussex, 24 April to 3 May 2015

Good Figures is curated by art historian Candida Stevens, founder of TINT-ART, a contemporary art forum based in West Sussex, in collaboration with Philippa Gogarty and Alexandra Gray. Good Figures celebrates the diversity and shared focus of the selected artists who range from 22 to 82 in age, from emerging talents to Royal Academicians.

Candida conceived the idea for Good Figures when she noticed that many of the female artists she represents were painting, photographing, drawing and sculpting women. “The time seemed right to invite female artists to portray women for a dedicated exhibition.” Each selected artist was asked to submit original work for Good Figures. “The response has been tremendous. Of course, now it seems surprising that an all female exhibition featuring female subjects has not happened before on such a scale.” Artist Jane Mcadam Freud points out that the female form is a natural subject for female artists: “I live in it and it is endlessly there in every medium, in all times.”

Candida’s motivation for Good Figures was to celebrate female artists, although she and the contributing artists are aware of the potential for a feminist agenda. Featured artist, Annie Kevans, while researching women in Art History, was surprised to discover how many women had careers as artists as early as the 16th century: “Historically, in their day, many women were as successful as their male counterparts, and yet it is now accepted that women were too oppressed to be remember amongst the ‘great’ artists - a myth reinforced by curators who fail to collect women’s work or include their work in major exhibitions.”

Eileen Cooper, featured artist and educator, was elected Keeper of the Royal Academy in 2011, the first woman to hold the position since the Academy was founded in 1768. Eileen Cooper writes: “I wouldn’t want to obscure the many great achievements of female artists - but it is still very difficult for women to achieve success and visibility in the art world. The statistics prove this! Female artists face a challenge from art history, which is overwhelmingly about men. Yet, of course, contemporary artists are in constant dialogue with the art of the past. Although we can’t do much about the past, we need to challenge this lack of representation and inclusion, in order to bring outstanding women artists to public attention. I want exhibitions and collections to be representative of all the issues and perspectives in this country.”

Unusually, Good Figures shows the work of established artists like Eileen Cooper RA, Cathie Pilkington RA, Annie Kevans and Jane Macadam Freud alongside emerging artists such as Irene Lees, Liane Lang, Kate Montgomery and the youngest artist to be exhibited, Alice Dyba.

Featured artist, Irene Lees, discovered her artistic brilliance relatively late in life and, though an older artist, her work is arguably the most contemporary and political in the exhibition. The drawings of burkas in her series, ‘I’m Nobody! Who are you’ (after Emily Dickinson’s poem) symbolise the feminine struggle for identity and recognition. “We all live in an environment where masculinity and femininity have been developed to occupy clearly defined spheres. To give expression to this narrative I utilise the medium of knitting, which is essentially a feminine activity, and subvert it to demonstrate my on-going fixation with notions of entrapment. The construction and making of these drawings has been used to give life and meaning to these notions by using a continuous line to construct a burka which appears both vacuous and inhabited at the same time. Through my work I hope to explore and elucidate our cultural history, as well as analyse a seemingly female obsession with bodily appearance, which conforms to male expectations and demands.”

Candida Stevens summarises; “It has been richly rewarding to gather together thirty of the most exciting female artists working now in 2014, inviting them to create works of art that feature only women. Varied in age and at different stages of their careers, Good Figures has brought together a range of artists with a common purpose. The artists’ unique voices can be heard in their response to the question we asked: ‘The female form because...’ The answers, featured in the Good Figures catalogue, reveal the motivations and inspirations behind a body of work that deserves to have an extraordinary impact.”

Good Figures will move from the Mall Galleries in London to the award-winning Downland Jerwood Gridshell building in the South Downs, West Sussex at the end of April, giving artists time to replenish work sold in the London show. The Downland Jerwood Gridshell Space, located at the Weald & Download Open Air Museum (www.wealddown.co.uk), was runner-up for the Stirling Prize and its innovative design has won national and international acclaim.

Local businesses Chilgrove Gin, the only gin ever produced in the UK to be made from alcohol distilled from grapes and wine merchants Mason & Mason are exhibition sponsors. It will be the first contemporary art exhibition of its size and significance in West Sussex. The drawings not sold in the London exhibition will be auctioned in aid of Winston’s Wish.



Georges Braque’s work at Bellmans Auctioneers - This March, Bellmans Auctioneers are excited to offer for sale lot 1068 – attributed to Georges Braque (1882-1963), ‘Trois Colombes’ (Three Doves), a signed work in gouache dating from 1954.

8 top tips for buying art - “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like”. That is probably the most common thing people say when they visit the gallery. Don’t apologise - knowing what you like is all that is important.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, September 22, 2017

10 of the most beautiful, inspiring and simply stunning photos of Sussex shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An afternoon or bank holiday spent in a pub beer garden is a true delight of British life. A few of our favourites are here, chosen by Jenny Mark-Bell and Alice Cooke. Here’s hoping for a blistering summer...

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Sussex this month

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

With the South Downs, quaint villages and coastal trails, Sussex is a great place for a walk. Here we round up some of the best

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

The East Sussex town is inextricably connected with the most famous date in English history. So what’s new for Clive Agran to discover when he’s given a tour by the locals?

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Duncan Hall investigates the East Sussex town being transformed by a growing influx of artists

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

The town which was home to comic creations Mapp and Lucia is celebrating their creator E F Benson’s 150th anniversary in style as Duncan Hall discovers

Read more
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Goodwood Revival returns from 8-10 September, celebrating the halycon days of British motorsport with high-octane racing and vintage fashion. Goodwood’s Will Kinsman tells Jenny Mark-Bell how the stage is set... and why visitors should wear tartan

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hazel Sillver salutes some of the best Sussex establishments that welcome four-legged friends

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It’s been reeling in positive reviews since opening in June 2015. Jenny Mark-Bell took the bait and visited Worthing’s CrabShack to see what all the fuss was about

Read more
Friday, August 25, 2017

For those who eat a diet free from meat or any animal product, Sussex is a great place to live. Hazel Sillver presents a guide to the best restaurants/cafés/pubs for vegetarians and vegans

Read more
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hazel Sillver disappears into the rolling countryside of the Sussex Weald on this circular walk through fields and woodland

Read more
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

East Grinstead is a remarkable town with many religions choosing it as their base – including the Church of Scientology which has its European headquarters there. But what links them with pioneering plastic surgery and bare-knuckle boxing? Clive Agran found out

Read more
Friday, August 18, 2017

From 19-28 August festival fever takes over Arundel, with art, live music, theatre and family fun all over the town. Duncan Hall picks out the highlights

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Sussex Life Application Link

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Sussex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search