I am trying to visit as many exhibitions as I can and specially at this time of year when you never know when the weather might start to prevent such visits. So on a dark and dismal day I decided on the spur of the moment this morning to go to the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh to look at the Modern Scottish Women; painters & sculptors 1885 -1965 exhibition.
I am in general not in favour of exhibitions determined not by the art itself but by the gender of the artists concerned (why do we have specially exhibitions, for instance, of work by male quilters?!) but in the case of these women artists it is perhaps forgiveable that they finally get their own show Many of them had a pretty tough time of it, not helped by the fact that they very often had to make a choice between getting married or having a full-time job teaching art, because married women weren't allowed to have a full-time job teaching. This ludicrous rule (which needless to say didn't apply to men!) was only relaxed in 1945 and then probably only because there would otherwise not have been any art teachers and lecturers left while men went to war.
Although many of the artists in the show did exhibit during their life time, most of their work has been lingering in obscurity since their death. I was familiar with some of the names such as Phoebe Anna Traquair, Margaret Macdonald MacIntosh and Jessie M King, mostly because they are also very well known textile artists apart from their painting, and also Anne Redpath and Joan Eardley, who are more modern Scottish painters that have been exhibited frequently locally. Most of the other names were entirely unknown to me and I'm so happy to have made their acquaintance. All the artists in the show have a connection with Scotland in that they were either born there, spend time there during their lifetime or taught in Scotland.
The time period in the exhibition covers a number of new art movements, and that was clearly reflected in the work.There is a beautiful catalogue, covering each and every painting and sculpture exhibited and it also has a potted biography of all the artists. I'm going to enjoy reading more about each one in depth. The show is on till 26th June 2016
Hopefully this won't be the last we will see of their art.