Remembering four influential women in art

Pat Douthwaite:

The painter of distinctive portraits and uncompromising images was a true original, but her personal life was turbulent and often self-destructive. 1934 – 2002

“Separating the personality from the painter is a difficult, counterintuitive process, but Douthwaite’s story is one of contradictions and self-destructive turns.”

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Words Catherine Coyle
Originally published in issue 96

 

Top left: Pat Douthwaite: Worshipped Women, exhibition catalogue from the Scottish Gallery’s 1982 show Bottom left: An invitation to the 1967 exhibition at Ricahrd Demarco’s gallery Right: Pat Douthwaite displaying her multi-faceted expression of art
Left: The artist with her dog, Henry Dooley Top right: Homage to Brian Jones, 2001 Bottom right: Woman Wearing a Hat, c.2001

Douthwaite was born in Glasgow in 1934 to a middle-class family. Her introduction to expressive arts came at the age of thirteen when she started a class in movement, mime and dance. She was entirely self-taught, choosing not to go to art school. She knew instinctively that art not dance, was the path she was destined to follow. Her friends, her travels and her bipolar disorder all played a significant role in the formation of her artistic style but none of these should define this important, largely overlooked painter.

For the full story, check out episode 9 of the Homes & Interiors Scotland podcast which focuses on women in art.

 

Peggy Angus:

An influential and inspiring painter and designer who was an important mentor and collaborator for a great number of artists. 1904 – 1993

“She felt bitter that, as a woman, she was expected to be a wife and mother first and an artist second. Never one to conform to stereotypes, she rejected this notion and continued to work, travel and experiment.”

Words Catherine Coyle
Originally published in issue 97

Left: The artist, Peggy Angus Top right: Her painting of fellow artist John Piper, now in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection Bottom right: Tile mural incorporating space for advertisements in the corridor of the passenger terminal at London Heathrow airport, c.1955
Left: Tile mural at Glyndwr University, Wrexham, from the late 1950s Right: Peggy Angus loved to tell stories. Here she is recounting the tale of the Teeny Tiny Woman

For Peggy Angus, winning recognition for her work was perhaps secondary to the work itself. Her art was about community and about socialism, and she saw herself as a footsoldier delivering the message. At a time when women artists were outnumbered by men and her modernist style of war was falling out of favour, Angus’s art might have all but disappeared. But it is still found in limited public forums and community arenas, and her pioneering efforts are now being discussed, viewed and recognised by a contemporary audience, keen to share her legacy and finally place her where she belongs, among the greatest of Britain’s post-war artist-designers.

For the full story, check out episode 9 of the Homes & Interiors Scotland podcast which focuses on women in art. 

 

Lina Bo Bardi

The woman behind some of the most progressive architecture in Brazil was a pioneer who always put people ahead of buildings. 1914 – 1992

“She responded with sensitivity to the brief and the environment, creating spaces that would provide more than just shelter.”

Words Catherine Coyle
Originally published in issue 116

Lina Bo Bardi in 1960
Casa de Vidro, Bo Bardi’s home in São Paulo – lush vegetation grew quickly to surround the glass house, as she knew it would

Not many architects viewed architecture the way Bo Bardi did.Her primary aim was not to create a building in isolation; rather, her intension was to enhance the lives of those who lived and worked in it. She brought together architecture and the social agenda of her environment, striving to make the connection between how people live and how architecture can help humanise that experience. She was dedicated to the idea of collectivism.

For the full story, check out episode 9 of the Homes & Interiors Scotland podcast which focuses on women in art.

 

Enid Marx

A prolific and inventive designer, she turned her hand to illustration, writing and much more. 1902 – 1998

“Enid Marx is not a household name, yet the irony is that a very large proportion of the British people have seen her work.”

Words Catherine Coyle
Originally published in issue 119
Images courtesy of the Estate of Enid Marx

Left: Enid. Marx works on a pattern for a textile in the post-war years Top right: Bamboo pattern paper for the Little Gallery, from a wood engraving, c.1930 Bottom right: ‘News of the Day’, wood engraving for ‘Nursery Rhymes’, 1939
Top left: ‘Feline Phantasy’, linocut in four colours, 1948 Bottom left: The cover of ‘The Little White Bear’, line block in three colours, 1945 Right: Enid Marx works on flower and shell designs, c.1946

Enid Marx was a textiles designer, an illustrator and a printmaker – and exceptional in each. Although less well-known than her contemporaries – the likes of Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and Alastair Morton – she was just as talented, and probably more prolific. Her motivation seems to to have been to ‘keep p with the boys’ or to prove herself in a man’s world; rather, her drive came from loving the skills she had developed since childhood, fired by a resourcefulness that compelled her to work and adapt as her surroundings changed, and from a progressive outlook that transcended her work.

For the full story, check out episode 9 of the Homes & Interiors Scotland podcast which focuses on women in art.