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A-Z of Great Women Artists.

A, B & C

⭐ A for Anna Atkins ⭐

Ever heard of Anna Atkins? Well, you will definitely not forget her after my incredible chat with photographer and photographic artist Josie Purcel on the Jo’s Art History Podcast. Episode 30.

Anna Atkins is THE FIRST PERSON EVER to create a photo book with her 1843 Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. How did she create this I hear you ask?

Using the Cyanotype printing process!! Just look at how beautiful this work above is.

⭐ B is for Louise Bourgeois ⭐

Well, what can we say on such a powerhouse who is known best for her monumental work Maman??

Well, to start - this woman is so much more than a giant spider.

Themes that recur throughout her work are life, living, loving, suffering and dying.

She uses a wide range of materials and her work blurs the lines between conceptual, surrealist and almost in places, DADA.

Tate have an incredible video about Bourgeois and I really respect Tate's director Francis Morris for admitting in it that she was intimidated by Louise and found her although incredible, very standoffish and unfriendly.

She appears as this tough character which, when you learn about her troubled childhood and how much she fought for being a creative female, makes sense.

Please go and watch this video - it's an amazing thing to hear an artist’s own voice. Even better when they are speaking about their own work.

What is REALLY interesting in this is that Louise doesn’t seem to want to explain herself and quite right - why should she??

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⭐ C is for Ann Christopher RA ⭐

I have known Ann for a number of years now thanks to my previous day job at Pangolin London Sculpture Gallery.

Her work to me is timeless, elegant and precise. For me Ann smashes the idea that sculpture has to be this HUGE dominating presence in order to ‘pack a punch’. For Ann, some of her best work is hand held and is so small, you can pop it in your pocket take it with you.

So, some facts on Ann Christopher RA:

⭐ Her work seems so elegant and simple, but I can assure you EVERYTHING is meticulously thought out. Every line. Every mark. Every colour chosen; is there for a reason.

⭐ Ann will often cast a sculpture and then hand finish the work!

⭐ She draws on a broad range of visual subjects for inspiration: from rock formations and its mossy coverings, to modern day architecture and planes in the sky.

⭐ Despite her work being slender - Ann’s work holds power and presence.

⭐ She believes sculpture does not need to be ‘directly descriptive’ and that abstract sculpture can still hold a presence.

⭐ Ann is a Royal Academician (RA), meaning she has an active say in all things that happen at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. This at times includes leading hangs and being part of the selection committee at the famous Summer Exhibition.

Jo McLaughlin

November 2021

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