I was so happy in March 2021 to be the guest curator for the Ladies Drawing Club and their Call for Art #9. LDC is a brilliant artist collective, founded by Ania Sokolova, making connections between female and female-identifying artists all across the world.
So what does a guest curator do? You may be wondering 🤔 Guest curators will create a curatorial brief for the artists to work with and respond to - these briefs can be as simple or as wacky as you like! I chose to challenge the artists to imagine themselves in their dream studio, in their old age - what work would they make?
The artists then enter their work as part of the Call for Art, and then I get to choose the final works, and write my curatorial essay. This is my favourite part as I'm a total nerd, and actually get quite excited about doing something that has a vaguely academic vibe 😂
I loved working with Ania and the 8 selected artists so much that I suggested we sell these works on Subject Matter. We want to amplify them - and Ladies Drawing Club - as much as we can. All these artists are at a formative stage of their career, where sales make a huge difference, so that's important too.
Here's an extract from my curatorial essay below, I sincerely hope you enjoy these 8 artists as much as I did. If you have any questions at all, please drop me an email, I'd love to chat more about them 😉
- Kitty Dinshaw
A Studio, Somewhere, Half a Century Away
To make work, even though nobody will see it.
For some artists, this could be torture; they need the “noise”, the validation that attention brings. The artists I have chosen for this curation need no validation. They all exude a core confidence in their work and their ideas; their practice is theirs and theirs alone.
In a studio, somewhere, in their old age, they make work for no-one but themselves.
To place these artists together in a dialogue is a great privilege, and one that has truly enlightened me. To spend time in the company of intelligent, creative people is one of life’s great gifts. Thank you, Ladies Drawing Clüb, for this opportunity.
This curation ended up becoming more layered and tactile than I had initially anticipated; there is a physical texture to all these works. As I read through so many excellent entries, I was struck by how many artists had interpreted the brief - in part - as a freedom to play. With the final eight artists, playfulness involved a deep connection to their materials, an exploration of their medium and the pure enjoyment of the act of making, a love of the process.
I’m endlessly fascinated by what goes on inside artists’ heads, and their day-to-day practices; so this always was a brief where ideas mattered more than finished work. What struck me was how many of the artists are aware that the concepts and processes that concern them now will continue to preoccupy them for decades to come. Others, free from the pressure of shows and deadlines, would choose to experiment.
Pleasure, Process, Play.
Three abiding themes that I am left with at the end of writing this text. But beyond those themes, so much more. I invite you to dive deeply into this exhibition and wish you so much enjoyment discovering these artists, their work and their ideas.