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If Not Now, When? Generations of Women in Sculpture in Britain, 1960-2022 travels to the Saatchi Gallery in London

21 Sep 2023

The Hepworth Wakefield is delighted to announce that its exhibition If Not Now, When? will be shown at the Saatchi Gallery 15 November 2023 – 22 January 2024 in an expanded form. The exhibition forms part of the Saatchi’s Season of Sculpture and is the first time The Hepworth Wakefield has partnered with the London-based gallery.

The exhibition, which originally opened in Yorkshire in March, explores the lives of women sculptors in Britain during a significant period of social and artistic change. It is the culmination of the feminist research project, Hepworth’s Progeny: Generations of Women in Sculpture in Britain, 1960 – 2022, carried out in 2022 by The Hepworth Wakefield in collaboration with art historian Griselda Pollock and sculptor Lorna Green, working with Yorkshire-based curatorial researchers Dr Anna Frances Douglas and Dr Kerry Harker. The project revisited research into women artists working in the expanding field of sculpture undertaken in the late 1980s by Green in her M.Phil thesis, The Position and Attitudes of Contemporary Women Sculptors in Britain 1987-89 at The University of Leeds.

The exhibition features the work of 29 remarkable female artists who took part in either, or both, of the research projects, celebrating their contributions to the field of sculpture from the 1960s to now. Divided into three chapters, the exhibition explores time as an everyday lived experience marked by the evolving cycles directly affecting women.

The first chapter, Women’s Time celebrates the unique feminine values of givers of life, preservers, and carers of others. This chapter additionally encourages unrestricted conversations, highlighting real-world tensions and the idealisation of social roles inhabited by women.

Chapter two, Tumbling Through Time is preoccupied with the materiality and immediate urgency of issues such as climate change and the growing sense that time is of the essence. This chapter includes sculptures created from various recycled materials, gilded fruit, neon, fabricated metal, and piano wire.

The final chapter, The Time is Now, addresses distinct moments in history and by bringing the works together into one space will present visitors with the reality of reoccurring injustices and discrimination that have been addressed by each artist as they created their work. Ultimately, however, the overarching theme is hope, created through the representation and visibility of artists critiquing cultural expectations of femininity and celebrating the gendered experience through their own unique views.

The research was funded by a donation from the Holberg Prize awarded to Professor Griselda Pollock in 2020 for her work in feminist studies in the visual arts and art history, and to foster extended research in this field.

Exhibiting Artists: Phyllida Barlow, Glenys Barton, Shirley Cameron, Annie Cattrell, Helen Chadwick, Lorraine Clarke, Katrina Cowling, Deborah Duffin, Carol Farrow, Sheila Gaffney, Rose Garrard, Lorna Green, Mandy Havers, Bridget Heriz, Michele Howarth, Permindar Kaur, Rosie Leventon, Lilane Lijn, Kim Lim, Renate Meyer, Cornelia Parker, Christine Kowal Post, Victoria Rance, Freddie Robins, Veronica Ryan, Amy Stephens, Pamela Storey, Shelagh Wakely, Lois Williams