4. Loren Eiseley
Modern Scottish Women — The Female Gaze
In the 19th and early 20th centuries certain artistic disciplines, like sculpture, were regarded as unfeminine. Similarly, certain types of art were considered to be more appropriate for women. In 1860, French art critic, Léon Legrange wrote of female artists:
'Let women occupy themselves with those kinds of art they have always preferred… the paintings of flowers, those prodigies of grace and freshness which alone can compete with the grace and freshness of women themselves’.
However, have things moved on for female artists today?
In this film contemporary artists Julie Roberts, Graham Fagen, and arts journalist Jan Patience were invited to discuss whether an artist’s gender affects the work they create or the subject matter they choose.
Modern Scottish Women — Teaching
Before the 19th century, women were excluded from most forms of artistic training. In 1845, Glasgow School of Art was founded, and by 1848 its classes were co-educational. Its first female member of staff was Elizabeth Patrick who was appointed in 1855. Edinburgh College of Art was founded in 1908, and had male and female staff and students from the start. In 1990, artist Mary Armour recalled her own experience at art school, noting:
‘My advice to any young woman walking through [the doors of an art school] today: it won’t be easy. The life of an artist is never easy. Things have changed some though, and there are now more and more opportunities for women in art and design’.
In this film artists Abigail Webster, Moyna Flannigan and John Beagles were invited to discuss their own experiences of studying and teaching art.
Modern Scottish Women — Collaboration
Artist or art collectives have long provided a space for creative collaboration. Whether this model of collective working is arrived at for practical (sharing materials, equipment or space) or more ideological reasons (shared social, political or aesthetic views), the benefits of pooling knowledge, resources or ideas are clear. Despite women’s presence in these collectives being relatively uncommon until the middle of the 20th century, female only or mixed collectives are now a common fixture in contemporary art practice.
In this film contemporary artist Ciara Phillips, art writer Sarah Lowndes, and art historian Harry Weeks were invited to discuss artist collectives and the notion of collaboration.
Modern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965 was an exhibition of work by Scottish women artists at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2016. Concentrating on painters and sculptors, it covers the period from 1885, when Fra Newbery became Director of Glasgow School of Art, until 1965, the year of Anne Redpath’s death.