Heavy Metal: Women to Watch 2018 is NMWA’s fifth exhibition in the series designed to increase the visibility of, and critical response to, women artists who deserve greater national and international attention. All of the museum’s 21 outreach committees worldwide have worked with a renowned local curator to nominate artists, from which NMWA’s curators will select one artist from each committee’s shortlist whose work will be featured in the most extensive Women to Watch exhibition to date, at NMWA in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 2018.
Heavy Metal: Women to Watch 2018 explores contemporary women artists’ diverse approaches to the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metal as a medium. From the ornamental to the functional, from detailed silverwork to large-scale cast or welded metals, women have been involved in metal work for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. Britain itself has a long tradition of innovative and inspiring women artists working in three dimensions and in particular with metal.
The selected artists for the UK exhibition approach the medium in different ways. Claire Barclay eschews the ready made, choosing to uniquely machine or handcraft the components of her installations, which at once may appear ornamental and utilitarian, all together exuding a sense of the surreal. Sara Barker’s work resides in the ground between painting and sculpture. Copper or aluminium frames delineate space in all directions, creating dynamic voids. Her work incorporates transparent panels and glass panes, pastel washed with the blues and greys of the Scottish landscape. Language also plays its part: her titles encapsulate both the complexity and clarity of her work. Rana Begum uses sheets of rolled copper or aluminium, which she folds into angular shapes and coats with vibrant colours. She is Minimalism and the geometric forms of Islamic art and architecture, drawn from her Anglo-Bangladeshi background influence her work. Her works reveal her interest in architectural space, and pure colour, form and natural light. The mesmerising and meditative quality of her work is enhanced by the fact that she consciously eschews narrative, preferring to present works of visual balance and vibrancy. Alison Wilding, RA is a remarkably influential sculptor (although less well known than her male contemporaries), who is constantly drawn to the elemental qualities of sculpture expressed in abstract form. She sensitively and thoughtfully juxtaposes traditional and more unusual sculptural materials: cast bronze, marble, Perspex, feathers, pigment, beeswax, and silk, all of which are chosen for both their aesthetic qualities and their timeless resonance.
In conversation with Caroline Douglas
21 November, 6.30–8.30 p.m.
Phillips, Berkeley Square, W1J 6EX
Tickets (£45) : http://www.ukfriendsofnmwa.org/