This project develops our exploration of twentieth century women artists in collections as artist researchers from a radical position of care.
The project looks at the work of artist Kathleen Walne (1915-2011). Her work is included in the Towner Collection and was part of their exhibitions ‘A Life in Art: Lucy Wertheim’ and ‘Reuniting the Twenties Group’, 11 June to 25 September 2022.
We fell in love with Walne’s work at Christchurch Mansion (Ipswich) back in 2014. Since 2017 we have been researching Kathleen’s work, we have met with her family and catalogued her work and archive material.
In the residency studio we displayed Kathleen’s archive material, and curated a hang of her work alongside our own. We also included a reference library and a series of questions inviting visitors’ contributions. The residency gave us a platform to raise the issues of visibility of women artists in collections, with our focus on Kathleen.
The publication Listening to Kathleen Walne, is a culmination of our work to date on Kathleen Walne.
Funded by Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants
Rebecca Birrell is Curator of 19th and 20th Century Paintings and Drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge. Her first book, This Dark Country: Women Artists, Still Life and Intimacy in the Early Twentieth Century, is a blend of collective biography and art criticism, published by Bloomsbury in August 2021.Rebecca Birrell instagram
Natalie Bradbury is a writer and researcher based in Greater Manchester. She completed a PhD at the University of Central Lancashire in 2018, entitled ‘Pictures for Schools: Art, Education and Reconstruction in Post-war Britain’. This focused on a series of exhibitions organised by the painter and educationalist Nan Youngman.Natalie Bradbury
Lauren Craig is a London-based cultural futurist, artist, curator, full- spectrum doula, and celebrant. She is a former member of collectives Rita Keegan Archive Project (RKAP) and ‘X Marks the Spot’. She has founded and directed six creative organisations with a background in ethical, social and environmental entrepreneurship and reproductive justice.Lauren Craig - British Art Network
Martha Fleming is a researcher and museum professional with a special interest in the intersections between history of collections, history of science and global histories. She has held research, teaching and leadership roles in both collecting institutions and university contexts in the UK, Germany and Denmark.Martha Fleming
Rebecca Fortnum is Professor of Fine Art and Head of School of Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Henry Moore Institute and Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Painting.Rebecca Fortnum
Jennifer Higgie is an Australian writer who lives in London. Author of The Mirror and the Palette: 500 Years of Women’s Self-Portraits. She is currently working on various scripts; her new book, The Other Side: A Journey into Women, Art and the Spirit World will be published 2023. She is the presenter of Bow Down, a podcast about women in art history.Jennifer Higgie
Harriet Loffler is the Curator of The Women’s Art Collection at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the College, Harriet was the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery from 2009-2018. In her role she led on all the contemporary exhibitions and public programming, partnership projects as well as the development of the modern and contemporary collection.The Women's Art Collection
Gina Nembhard is a practitioner and assistant to artists. She initially trained in mixed media textiles. As a member of a collective of women practitioners called ‘X Marks the Spot’ which initially formed in residency at Studio Voltaire, Gina was exposed to working with artist’s archives. This link continues today with the Rita Keegan Archive Project (RKAP), a social history curatorial collective.Gina Nembhard instagram
Emma Roodhouse is Art Collections & Learning Curator at Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service and freelance researcher. Emma has curated exhibitions on John Constable, Rodin’s The Kiss, Hairstyles in Art, Ed Sheeran, 500 years of surgery, Explosives, East Anglian printmaking and Children’s Book Illustrators.Emma Roodhouse - British Art Network
Renee Vaughan Sutherland is an artist, creative director and lecturer living and working in Essex. Her creative practice explores the body and landscape and the potential of inhabiting bodies being carriers of narratives. She has exhibited and screened film work in the UK and Europe.Renee Vaughan Sutherland
Karen Taylor is the Collections and Exhibitions Curator at Towner Eastbourne, where she curates exhibitions with a focus on the artists in the Towner Collection. She researched and curated Towner's 2022 summer exhibition A Life in Art: Lucy Wertheim, Patron, Collector, Gallerist and Reuniting the Twenties Group.Karen Taylor - Art UK
We have worked with Kathleen Walne’s friends and family and public collections to understand and build a picture of Kathleen’s creative life both for our research and to share.Find out more information about Kathleen Walne research
A residency during the Wertheim exhibitions, A Life in Art: Lucy Wertheim and Reuniting the Twenties Group (11 June to 25 September 2022), encouraging visitors to become active researchers. The artists’ cataloguing and archiving processes focus on Kathleen Walne (1915-2011) as fellow painters from a position of care. Kathleen, who was represented by Lucy Wertheim as a young artist, also cared for her in old age.
Studio One: Tuesday 12 - Sunday 17 July, 2022
TOWNER EASTBOURNE, Devonshire Park, College Rd, Eastbourne BN21 4JJ
Open to all artists, an invitation to work with Obscure Secure to research women artists in the Wertheim exhibitions. Following an introduction to a selection of works in the exhibition with curator Karen Taylor, Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley share their working process as practice-based artist researchers. Asking key questions around the visibility of women artists and collectively exploring themes that arise from researching the lives of some of the women artists featured in the exhibitions. Including the opportunity to look at a selection of archive material and reflection on practice.
Studio One: Wednesday 13 July, 2022, 10am to 4pm
Re-printed for the first time since it was originally published in 1947, an opportunity to explore Lucy Wertheim’s memoir Adventure in Art, with Obscure Secure artists Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley and curator Karen Taylor. Connecting with Obscure Secure research interests.
Studio One: Thursday 14 July 2022, 11am to 1pm
Online: Thursday 1 September, 2022, 6pm to 8pm
A discussion event addressing the gender imbalance in collections and archives, contributing to wider conversation and action.
Women and non-binary artists are represented in public collections, but in small proportion and their stories often remain hidden. Much work is being done to redress underrepresentation in collections. Bringing together artists, curators, art historians, and interested groups and individuals for a day of presentations and open discussion. A welcoming space to explore gender imbalance from a range of perspectives, focusing on the visibility of women artists in public collections and archives.
Contributors include: Rebecca Birrell, Curator and author of This Dark Country; Natalie Bradbury, writer and researcher; Lauren Craig and Gina Nembhard, X Marks the Spot and Rita Keegan Archive Project artists; Harriet Loffler, Curator of The Women’s Art Collection; Obscure Secure artists Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley; Karen Taylor, Curator of the Wertheim exhibitions; Renee Vaughan Sutherland, artist.
Auditorium: Wednesday 21 September, 2022, 10am to 4pm