Group show - Studio 58
- Michael Davis
- 28 July 2012
Inspiring, non-didactic collection of female artists' work since 1939
Glasgow School of Art brings together a collection of 54 women artists of working Glasgow since World War II in an unusual mix of craft, textile, painting and performance curated by Dr Sarah Lowndes. The GSA acts as a geographic tie for the show, managing to ground and contextualise the range of work from postwar to contemporary women artists through a series of wonderfully bizarre relations of tutor or studentship. Despite containing an inordinate number of artists for the size of the gallery, including some of Glasgow’s current heavyweights like Karla Black, Christine Borland and Cathy Wilkes, Studio 58 somehow avoids the sterile feeling of a survey show – it has much more character and flair than that.
Studio 58 reveals a web of delicate connections between overlapping generations of the women artists, showing a very human account of an under-discussed period of history since 1939, a lineage which has seen such change that it is often hard to fathom. The name refers to the studio space allotted for female students in the art schools early days – on the other side of the building from the only women’s lavatory. It might seem a little unnecessary to be championing women artist in Glasgow now, but it doesn’t feel didactic, rather a reminder and a celebration.
Whether in the artifacts of other generations like the series of mannequins, including Cordelia Oliver’s handmade canvas skirt with Daisy McGlashan painting smock, or the more current flavours of the month like Romany Dear’s dance performance or Claire Barclay’s ‘Ideal Pursuits’ – there is lots to be inspired by. One of the real joys is an original mackintosh cabinet, which has been unearthed from behind a white wall for this show, a wunderkammer of curious objects, books and old photos over these generations.
Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow School of Art, until Sun 30 Sep.