13 Jul 2018 – 4 Aug 2018

Event times

10:00am - 6:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday.

Cost of entry


James Freeman Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 73, 38, 4, 43
  • Angel

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Who is the modern muse?
New exhibition offers a female take on the muse


The new exhibition Muse at James Freeman Gallery in London features work by contemporary artists Gill Button and Sikelela Owen. The exhibition explores the role of the muse in a modern world saturated with visual stimuli.

Since the Golden Age of Greece, the quintessential muse has been the inspirational deity of literature, science and the arts. This elusive figure somewhere between a goddess and a woman has always had the pivotal role of enticing the creativity and artistic genius from their male counterpart. From Dora Maar, Kiki de Montparnasse to Edie Sedgwick the muse is an ever-present figure. With the muse historically viewed as the subject of the male gaze, now artists Sikelela Owen and Gill Button offer a fresh female perspective on this complex relationship and explore the identity of the modern muse who represents more than just the idealised female form. 

Both artists present dreamlike sometimes abstracted figures, engaging with varying sources of inspiration in everyday life. While Owen’s muses are intimate, often family and friends, Button finds her inspiration within the enigmatic faces of fashion models and film icons that flood the media, mostly working from secondary sources.  

Gill Button became an Instagram sensation just a few months after joining the social media platform, leading to collaborations with Gucci and Dries van Noten and her work featuring in Vogue. In her gestural and spontaneous ink and watercolour paintings, she explores the relationship between outer image and inner character. As an artist she often highlights her subjects features with makeup, whilst the soft lines and washes of muted colour contrast with the piercing stares of the compelling female subjects. The artist aims to capture not just a face, but portrays a strong presence and depth of character as her own emotions seep into her work leading the viewer to question, are we our own muse? 

In a similarly painterly and distinctly supple style, Sikelela Owen portrays intimate scenes, capturing moments of vulnerability and genuineness in the everyday life. Owen discards all pretenses and external noise, using her art to make sense of the people that surround her. Her works invite us into her private sphere, finding strength in the delicate and giving us a glimpse into the profundity of her personal relationships showing that a muse’s beauty and power are more than skin deep. 

Artists Gill Button and Sikelela Owen and gallery founder and curator James Freeman are available for interview. 

The exhibition is free to attend.

Private View on Thursday 12 July 6.30 - 8.30pm. To attend please RSVP at rsvp@damsonpr.com. 

For more information please contact Damson PR, Phoebe Ruffels via arts@damsonpr.comor 020 7812 0645 

Notes to Editors

About the artists


Gill Button graduated from Kingston University London with a BA (hons) Illustration in 1995. She has worked with Amazon, Cadbury’s, British Airways and Gucci among others. Button has presented various solo and group shows around the world in spaces including the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris, The Mass Gallery in Tokyo and Gallery 8 in London.

Sikelela Owen graduated from the Chelsea College of Art and Design with a BA Hons Fine Art (Painting) in 2006 and obtained her Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art from the Royal Academy Schools in 2012. Owen has had various solo shows including Upcoming at the HSBC Space in London and People Everyday the NAM Project in Milan. Her work can be found in the Robert Hiscox collection and the HG Capital Collection.

About the gallery

Established in 2003, the James Freeman Gallery focuses on contemporary classicism, presenting artists who combine current tendencies with art-historical references and exploration. The gallery has exhibited widely at both national and global level, including fairs and gallery collaborations in the USA, Europe and Asia and organises off-site shows both in the UK and abroad as a platform for artists' work.

What to expect? Toggle


James Freeman

Exhibiting artists

Sikelela Owen

Gill Button


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