Patrick Photos

A personal photography project

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First Women

I have been for sometime following the First Women project on social media and last week the exhibition opened at the Royal College of Art in Battersea. Today during my lunch break I managed to go down there to have a look around and also pick up the limited edition book.

The First Women project is a series of 100 photographic portraits taken by Anita Corbin. Each woman being a first in their field.

It is a great personal project by Anita Corbin taken over a 10 year period. I was amazed that each portrait was carried out in a two hour session. These busy women gaving up that amount of time shows how committed the sitters were to this project.

All of the images are great and would be unfair to pick a favourite on artistic merit as credit must be given to what the women have achieved. And even though these portraits depict one aspect of the women’s life their individuality does shine through in the pictures.

What I hope is that the next generation are inspired to follow the paths set by these 100 amazing women. It shouldn’t be unusual to see women in any industry they choose to be in.

First Women UK exhibition is on until 22 August 2018.

Madam and Eve

The book Madam and Eve by Liz Rideal and Kathleen Soriano is a selection of female artists in which the authors choose a single piece of their work that would fit into the book’s subtitle Women Portraying Women. Some of you may recognise Kathleen Soriano as one of the judges from Sky Arts Landscape or Portrait Artist of the Year programmes.

This book covers over 200 artists mainly from the late 20th century onwards. It makes sense that the art is from this era as the authors wanted to link the works with the rise of the feminist movement during this time period.

I need to add an authors note at this point, that all the works featured are in the “Western” art category. For artists from other cultures to be included would have made a much bigger book and the authors did not want to do that. However, they have not ruled out a follow up volume to cover the bits of the world that are missing.

It has been curious to me why “Western” art is considered far more superior than other regions. Commanding the highest auction prices and best places in art galleries.

Getting back to the book and I have to say there is a lot to take in. Not just because there are so many artists but the variety of what has been created. There is live performance, moving image, photography, sculpture and paintings. Often the pieces are humorous. Sometimes sad or strange. They maybe abstract or so realistic that it touches a nerve. Always thought provoking.

Some of the artists in the book I have heard of before but there are a lot that I haven’t. Which is an aim of the book. To get lesser known names more well known.

If you are new to this site, I have done reviews of books which showcase the work of female creators. You can read them here and here. I have to admit that this is, so far, the best book I have purchased that collates into one publication the work of women artists.

Madam and Eve published by Laurence King.

Dr Victoria N. Bateman

In 2014 I wrote about a visit to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. In that exhibition was a nude portrait of Dr Victoria N. Bateman and four years on I did wonder if she regretted allowing the painting to be displayed.

So I did a little research and found that she was not. On her website she explains that since then she has been more active rather than less. One factual error I made back in 2014 was to say that the painting was not quite life size when in fact it is. (Which must mean that she isn’t a very imposing figure to be able to fill up a whole room if you met her in real life.)

Following her on social media this was posted the other day:

The reaction to it was a red rag to a bull. Misogynist comments was the usual fair and I joined the conversation whenever there was a clear contradiction to their arguments. But there were some of comments that kept bugging me. How does this advance feminism? How does this solve problems that effect women around the world?

The short answer is that it doesn’t. It would be ridiculous to argue that a single tweet from an individual would be so earth shattering that the world begins to spin in a different direction. However, what it does do is to open up the mind to fresh ideas and opinions. If your understanding is an adamant belief that the world is flat why would you go and explore to see if it is not.

Back in 2014 I made the comparison of the portrait of Dr Victoria N. Bateman with a formal portrait that looked like it had been commissioned by a university. Now that I think about it, the juxtaposition of the two images says to me that you don’t have to look like that formal portrait to be part of an elite university.

If all this encourages everyone to challenge their own understanding and to see what other options are out there then maybe we might be able to solve some of the other bigger problems.

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