blimey! Lucretia (7 March - 10 May)

blimey! Lucretia (7 March - 10 May)
13 February 2020

An exhibition which aims to spark conversation around the representation of women in our changing world opens on the same weekend as International Women’s Day at The Bowes Museum.

blimey! Lucretia looks at the way women have been portrayed in both classical and contemporary culture, using The Bowes Museum’s recent exhibition The Power and The Virtue: Guido Reni’s Death of Lucretia as the catalyst.

The blimey! collective, a group of female-led Darlington based artists, used the focal point of that exhibition, the painting of The Death of Lucretia, as a tool to open the debate about  the representation of women in art and the story of Lucretia.

In a series of ‘Piercing Lucretia’ sessions people of all genders were invited to express their response to the painting by sewing on a miniature textile image of it, while seated at Lucretia’s table, reminiscent of the pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party.

It is these patches, which number approximately 500, along with Lucretia’s table, that will make up the central point of the immersive installation, as they are displayed sewn onto denim jackets worn by dozens of mannequins, which visitors will be able to walk around and amongst. 

The blimey! collective chose the act of sewing as the method for making the responses as in the story of Lucretia, she was raped after being seen to be virtuous by not leaving her weaving to gossip with her friends.  The cloth patches symbolise a sense of community and utilise a counter culture embellishment that signifies identity, personality and solidarity.

The artists who make up the blimey! collective are Carol Sommer, Amanda Marshall, Nicola Golightly and Vicky Holbrough.

Funded by Arts Council England and supported by Creative Darlington, the exhibition will be open from 7 March until 10 May.

A thought provoking series of events and talks has been scheduled to take place throughout the exhibition.

On Saturday 14 March there’s a free drop in event at Crown Street Art Gallery in Crown Street Library in Darlington from 6pm to 8pm, where you can join the blimey! collective to hear from the artist themselves about how the experience has shaped both their collective and individual creative practice. There will also a screening of the project film, which documented the Piercing Lucretia events.

The blimey! artists will be giving an insight into the project and sharing their thoughts on the work and being part of a collective in Gallery Talks in The Bowes Museum on Wednesday 8 April and Wednesday 15April from 2.15pm to 2.30pm.  These are free with admission to the Museum.

Saturday 25 April sees the Museum host a symposium from 10am until 3.30pm with a  fascinating interactive day of talks, performance, workshops, film screenings and a discussion panel which will focus on the themes of the blimey! Lucretiaproject: representation and engagement. It’ll also look at how our relationship to art in the museum setting.

Vicky Holbrough said: “We’re thrilled with the response that the project received at the ‘Piercing Lucretia’ sessions and we’re looking forward to people seeing these works alongside the painting that inspired them.”

Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington Manager, said: “It’s been fantastic to support the work of the blimey! collective and to see this grow from the responses people had to the painting of Lucretia, to become an exhibition is exhilarating.”

Dr Jane Whittaker, Head of Collections at The Bowes Museum, added:Our Founders were dedicated to sharing art with everyone, so it’s fantastic that the Museum is continuing this vision through partnerships like this one with the blimey! collective. The Power and the Virtue exhibition, focusing on the Museum’s painting of The Death of Lucretia, attributed to Guido Reni, featured their interactive blimey! Lucretia project, the result of which is shared in this thoughtful exhibition.”

blimey! Lucretia is open from 7 March until Sunday 10 May.

The Bowes Museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day. Entry to Café Bowes and the shop is free.  For more information on our exhibitions and events programme please see our website: thebowesmuseum.org.uk