A Question of Equity - April 1990

Submitted by root on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 17:44

Women in the Arts

4. WORKS BY WOMEN: d) The Visual Arts.

i) Paintings and Sculpture: Here I consider permanent collections and exhibitions (that is the works on display for all of the 6 months); exhibitions by professional artists, and a limited number of exhibitions by amateur artists (that is exhibitions by amateur artists within subsidised venues). (Although it is no part of the brief of this research there is an interesting analysis to be made of the ways in which amateur groups in different art forms do or do not receive subsidy. Amateur musicians, working as we have noted in a white male dominated area, receive subsidy both to promote professional artists and to work alongside professional artists; amateur drama groups are subsidised through the provision of venues; but amateur painters tend to receive little or no subsidy).

Permanent Collections and Displays: This is an inclusive statistic for all the galleries within the region. Works, that is sculptures and paintings, by men, 11,888; works by Women, 402. Therefore of the works on display only 3% were by women, and this figure is inflated by the presence of the Williamson Art Gallery where, uniquely, 29% of the works in the collection are by women.

Exhibitions: This covers works exhibited in all venues including libraries - on average exhibitions tended to run for four weeks. There were overall 32 exhibitions, of these 19 were solo shows - 15 of the work of male artists and 4 of the work of women artists.

On exhibition were 199 works by 48 women and 1,104 works by 118 men. That is 29% of all exhibitors - including those in solo shows - were women and 15% of the works on display were by women. The difference in percentages is a reflection both of the greater number of solo shows given over to male artists and of the fact that in mixed shows men tended to be represented by a greater number of works than women.

Of the women artists exhibited 14 (that is 29%) are known to have been black. This percentage is a reflection of the fact that in this period there were 2 exhibitions focusing on black art.

Exhibitions of the works of amateur artists show a much greater parity between the sexes. During this period 38% of all exhibitors were women and 44% of all works exhibited were by women.

ii) Photography: Providing meaningful statistics within this area has proved to be more difficult - some promoters knew how many photographs there were in an exhibition but not how many photographers, other knew the photographers but could only guess at the number of the works and some simply knew the subject of the exhibition. This is of course a reflection of the state of the art of photography and the variety of venues it is exhibited in.

Overall during this period there were some 25 photographic exhibitions. These included the Spectrum Women's Photographic exhibition of some 45 photographs of women by some 6 female photographers (this and the next exhibition mentioned toured throughout Merseyside); 'Just the Job' photographs of black women at work taken by black women;