York Art Gallery

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DATE: 7 March 2023

York Art Gallery celebrates artists who are women in an exciting new ceramics display, ‘Wall of Women’, in the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). Launching on International Women’s Day (8 March 2023), which this year has the theme #EmbraceEquality, the ‘Wall of Women’ is free to visit and highlights the innovation and creativity of women working with clay from the early 20th century to present day. Making objects and art from clay is one of the oldest forms of human creativity, having a 30,000 year history across most human cultures. All over the world, pottery production has largely been led by women, reflecting the division of domestic work according to gender.

York Art Gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art is now home to the work of 675 named artists and 40% of these artists are women. This new display presents the work of these artists, underlining the generosity of the collectors that supported the artists and York Art Gallery’s ambition to create a diverse collection. In 2020 York Art Gallery acquired more than 40 ceramic works, many of international significance, from the collection of the late American collector Patricia Nichol Barnes, with the aid of the Contemporary Arts Society. Most of the works donated were by made by women, and we’re delighted to be featuring a selection of them in this new display.

The enormous 17 metre long showcase contains around 250 works from York Art Gallery’s collection, including ceramics by Alison Britton, Carol McNicoll, and Kerry Jameson – many of which have not been on display before. We’re excited to also exhibit newly acquired works by Catherine Yarrow, a Surrealist potter who was associated with Leonora Carrington and Marcel Duchamp, as well as a range of works by the German Bauhaus trained potter and designer, Grete Marks. The display offers the opportunity to discover more about these and other undervalued women ceramicists.

Dr Helen Walsh, curator of ceramics, said: “Curating ‘The Wall of Women’ has been a wonderful experience, and we hope visitors will feel inspired by the fascinating range of works on display. We are fortunate to have an incredibly rich collection that enables us to explore different aspects of the contemporary studio ceramics movement. It’s been great to have the opportunity to showcase artworks visitors won’t have seen before, such as a couple of surprising homemade tools by Yorkshire based ceramicist Monica Young, who was famed for her monumental pots; and an exciting loan of a frieze of bathroom tiles made by Alison Britton, one of the UK’s leading ceramic artists, which has not been shown in public before. We can’t wait for visitors to see the new display and find out more about these ceramicists and their work.”

The ‘Wall of Women’ opens on International Women’s Day on the 8 March 2023 in the Centre of Ceramic Art at York Art Gallery and is free to visit. To find out more and book tickets visit York Art Gallery.