It explores diverse and wide ranging themes - some of the works look specifically at ideas around female identity whilst others explore subjects that are more abstract or remote in their nature.
The title of the exhibition was adapted from the seminal book 50% Visible Women created by the radical feminist artist Penny Slinger (b.1947) while at the Chelsea College of Art, London in 1969. Using photographic collage and original poetry, Slinger’s book examines how a woman is seen and how she sees herself; women take on multiple identities such as woman as goddess, woman as object of desire, and woman as mother, among others. What connects all these artists in this exhibition is their exploration of the human experience. Whether this is one that can be argued as ‘gendered’ is up for debate.
The representation of women within the collection at Norwich Castle has been examined recently and out of a total of 3440 artists represented in the art collection at Norwich Castle only 262 are women. This equates to 7%. The work we have by women artists begins in the nineteenth century with a small group of artists associated with the Norwich School of Painters such as Emily Stannard (1803-85) and Eloise Harriet Stannard (1829-1915).
There is also an important story about women who have supported the art collection at Norwich Castle. We are indebted to Lady Adeane who bequeathed her world class collection of international twentieth-century art to the museum in 1993 that includes a work on paper by Marie Laurencin (1885-1956).
The exhibition coincides with the Women of the World WOW Festival in Norwich from 26-29 April 2018.