WE are all familiar, I suppose, with the works of surrealist Salvador Dali, but the names and works of women surrealists are much less known to most.
That situation is corrected in a major, impressive show at Manchester Art Gallery.
The women’s work was, and remains, not a little shocking at times.
Back in the 1930s, women artists had already begun to show signs of feminism, picturing women outside domestic duties and venturing into areas of sex and eroticism.
Hence, perhaps, the title of the show, Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism.
Francesca Woodman’s dramatic untitled photograph even shows a woman hung up, almost in crucified form, above a spotless floor, in an effort to portray the rejection of female domestic labour.
Dora Major, in 1938, gives us a photographic portrait of herself in the nude.
Penny Slinger’s photographic collages from 1936, Read My Lips, and I Hear What you Say, mix ears and lips in curious but effective fashion.
Jane Graverol’s Les Derniers Plaisirs (The Last Pleasures) is a bed in a landscape, evoking Dali’s sofa from 1938, which was modelled on Mae West’s lips.
Among the fantasy paintings, Jane Graverol’s The Celestial Prison is an angel in a cage, while Marion Adnams’ The Distraught Infanta is a beautiful paper figure inspired by Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte.
Edith Rimmington has created a strange figure, part human and part bird.
There’s not much in the way of sculpture in this impressive show, with more than 150 pieces on view, but Meret Oppenheim’s Ghost With Sheet and Eileen Agar’s Angel of Mercy (1934) are both strong pieces.
Borrowings from all over Europe means that entry to the exhibition is £6 (£4 concessions) but the gallery itself has free entry and no fewer than 25,000 items to look at, including, of course, its famous collection of Pre-Raphaelite works.
Opening times are Tuesday to Sunday (10am to 5pm). Angels of Anarcy runs until January 10.
r HORSE lover and outstanding equine painter Carol Ward of Huddersfield has opened a solo show at the Coterie Gallery and Fine Art Studios, Packhorse Lane, High Green, Sheffield.
Titled Horses Lend us the Wings We Lack, the show runs until January 7.
“I like to work big, with large pieces to convey the raw energy, gentleness, fear and a sense of the historical mystery of the horse,” Carol says.
“Finding inspiration from ancient historical equine stories, I combine to highlight the horse as an intriguing subject, with many layers to be discovered.”
She uses the influence of Renoir and his softness of dappled shades, but says she does not want to describe the animal in a sedate and restricted way, but with much more expression and creative imagination.
The Coterie Gallery opens Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm.
Next year Carol will be having a big solo show at the North Light Gallery, Armitage Bridge, from March 6 to May 29.
r MIRFIELD Prints previews at the Smith Gallery, Brighouse, tomorrow (1.30-3.30pm) when refreshments will be provided.
This is an exhibition by members of the West Yorkshire Print Workshop, Mirfield.
It’s 25 years this year since the premises on Huddersfield Road opened as the old Eastthorpe Gallery, and some celebratory events are planned including a Christmas art and craft fair on December 5 (11am to 5pm).
The Smith Gallery show, running until January 24, opens weekdays 10am-12.30pm and 1-6pm (closed Wednesdays) and Saturday 10am-12.30pm and 1-4pm.