Weird sisters are doing it for themselves: Sarah Lucas curates show of 23 female peers across generations, Louisa Buck, δημοσίευση The Art Newspaper [9/2/2023]
Sexism and ageism still stalk the art word, not to mention the world at large. But this month these twin evils are given a thorough trouncing in a pair of shows that confirm the power of the older woman, and especially when sisters of a certain age do it for themselves.
This is what the artist Sarah Lucas has achieved with BIG WOMEN, a big-hearted, multifarious exhibition that she has organised at Colchester’s Firstsite, which comprises paintings, sculpture, film and fashion by 23 of her female peers, as well as by Lucas herself. “The older woman is often overlooked, irrelevant, and without currency,” Lucas says. “We live in an increasingly ageist society and this affects women disproportionately.”
The show’s title comes from a 1990s TV drama written by Fay Weldon about a group of female friends who set up a feminist publishing house; and the same spirit of female comradeship pervades Lucas’s show. “I see BIG WOMEN as both an endorsement and a celebration of women’s achievements in the creative field” she says.
Ages span from the baby of the group, 43-year-old Polly Morgan, whose disquieting photoworks feature unholy alliances of flayed taxidermied snakes and acrylic fingernails, to Maggi Hambling, aged 77, and her giant sculpture of Francis Bacon’s muse Henrietta Moraes eating a meringue, and a vividly painted nude by octogenarian Sonia Coode-Adams. In between are works by a formidable clutch of 50 and 60-somethings, including Fiona Banner, Gillian Wearing, Georgina Starr, the fashion designer Pam Hogg and legendary DJ and fashion icon Princess Julia, as well as a band of Lucas’s own striking ‘bunny’ sculptures.