The Power of She: A tribute to Women in the Arts is a ground-breaking curatorial initiative from a duo of accomplished women curators: Marie-Claudine Llamas (Guerin Projects) and Mica Bowman (Bowman Sculpture). This exhibition will feature some of the most compelling 19th-century and modern sculptors, including Camille Claudel, Elizabeth Frink and Barbara Hepworth, juxtaposed with leading contemporary artists, including Emily Young, Lily Lewis and Pauline Amos.
Celebrating the contemporary, the modern and the timeless, the curation of this exhibition encourages a dialogue between the historical and the contemporary in a frank and thought-provoking manner. While the exhibition will focus on works of art, the 6-week program will include a performance by Natascha Mair, Prima Ballerina of the English National Ballet, female musicians and DJs, talks from several artists involved, including Emily Young, described by the Financial Times as “Britain’s greatest living stone sculptor” as well as a special talk from New York gallerist Hong Gyu Shin, who rediscovered two 20th-century female artists – Carla Prina (1950s) and Else-Fischer-Hansen (1960s) and brought them into museum collections.
Helmed by two women curators passionate about providing a platform for female creativity, the exhibition will take place in Mayfair, the epicentre of what has traditionally been a male-dominated art world, ‘The Power of She’ promises to shake up the patriarchy. Marie Claudine and Mica are at the forefront of a handover of the curatorial baton to a new generation, with this passion project designed to put women artists front and centre.
Mica Bowman: “The overarching theme that ties everything together in this show is about women’s voices: those women from earlier centuries or even decades whose voices may not have been heard or appreciated during their lifetimes, and those of the living artists we are working with who do have a voice. While I cannot say that we are living in a world currently where all women’s voices are heard, although much progress has been made, especially in recent years, we feel it is important to continue to address the subject of inequality and to remember the women that came before us.”
Marie-Claudine Llamas: “With ‘The Power of She’, we are addressing the representation of womanhood by women through the centuries. The exhibition will describe the different states, chapters and aspects a woman goes through during her life. This exhibition is about the generosity of curation. It is highly expansive and introspective, offering viewers a diverse view of the subject matter across media, including sculpture, painting, drawing, poetry and performative arts.”
The exhibition’s venue – Bowman Sculpture – is a gallery specialising in sculpture from 1860 to the present day and is the foremost gallery in the world for sculpture by Auguste Rodin. Mica Bowman is breathing some fresh air and a new perspective into the traditional sculpture gallery founded by her parents, Robert and Michele Bowman, in 1993. Robert Bowman is an esteemed 19th-century sculpture authority and appointed sculpture expert to the UK government.
Although the gallery is known for selling fine examples of works by Rodin, the gallery also deals in works by Camille Claudel, whose work will be featured in ‘The Power of She’. Perhaps most widely known for her controversial and tragic love affair with Rodin, highlighted in two films and several books. Claudel now has a dedicated museum, the Camille Claudel Museum in Nogent-sur- Seine. Her works are considered essential to any serious sculpture collection from this period. Although her work is now fully acknowledged by the art world today, Claudel faced many barriers as an artist and, more importantly, as a woman at the turn of the century.
Emily Young: “You can count the names of famous women artists from a couple of centuries ago on one hand. In centuries and millennia past, a woman’s fate was her womb. A woman’s lot was most often one of bearing and burying babies. So it’s not surprising there were not many women artists. All humans are equally subject to the Earth’s natural laws to live and breathe and thrive or not. Every human needs to know this.
‘The Skies Daughter’ to be featured in ‘The Power of She’ is carved from a piece of Lapis Lazuli. It was mined in a high mountainous region of northeastern Afghanistan. The working conditions there were extremely harsh, but the labour in the mines provided some income to local people, farmers, whose lives were otherwise potentially even harsher. Lapis has been mined there for at least 8,000, possibly 9,000 years. As Pliny, the Elder said, “The starry heavens above, Lapis below.” It was and is one of Earth’s most treasured and beautiful stones.
However, I am unhappy to benefit from the harsh conditions and labour of the local people, but if I don’t buy this material, their income will be reduced, albeit in a small way. It is a dilemma. So, as a partial solution, a proportion of the profits from the sale of this piece will go to Doctors without Borders – Crisis in Afghanistan: https://msf.org.uk/issues/crisis-afghanistan.”
Lily Lewis is exhibiting her ‘FACES’ series and explains: “The faces in the series are all secondary characters in major literary works. Their positions in the plot are crucial but overshadowed by the ‘heroes’. With this ‘FACES series, I’m playing with the concept of the ‘ideal’ as an un-fixable point and questions of agency and “main character energy” within the narrative structures inherited and upheld through history and literature. These overlooked characters were, at best secondary and, worst toxic tokenistic extended adjectives, lending colour to plot and prose. These faces seem almost ghostlike, haunting, within the context of reimagined classical landscapes, painted with brushstrokes like the weave of binary in physical textiles and the woven web of our computerised experience.”
Pauline Amos describes the work she is exhibiting in ‘The Power of She’: “The work is visceral, disturbing, and purposefully provocative. The paintings are heavy with my history and narrative. As a woman, the world I experience is interpreted and recorded in paint. The work, the art, is the person, the life force that is doing the work. The paintings are documents and records of an action or a time in life. These two paintings, ‘Fecund Fertile Fruitful Me’ (1 & 2), show my frustration and, more than that, quiet desperation.”
About the Curators:
Mica Bowman (b. 1994, UK) joined Bowman Sculpture in 2019, having worked in several prominent Art Galleries, including Sladmore and Daniel Katz in London and Les Enluminures in Paris, before deciding to return to her true passion, sculpture. Her enthusiasm for the subject has led to significant sales to private collectors and public institutions, including the Musée Rodin, the Musée Camille Claudel, the Snite Museum and The Wadsworth Atheneum. She has curated several exhibitions over the past five years, including ‘Rodin: Influenced and Inspired’, ‘Hanneke Beaumont: Timeless Expressions of the Human Condition’ and ‘When Matter Becomes Form’. In 2020 she collaborated with the Sir Denis Mahon Foundation featuring the work of Emily Young. In addition, she participated in Masterpiece conversations discussing contemporary Sculpture with Melanie Vandenbrouck, curator of sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Marie Claudine Llamas (b. 1994, France) is a London-based French curator. She started her career as an artist, studying at les Écoles des Art Decoratifs (Ecoles du Louvre) in Paris, Charles Cecil Studios in Florence and City of London Art School in London, after which she went to the Royal College of Arts on a scholarship.
MC recently rose to attention for curating the all-women “The Tribe” rooms as part of Art in The Age of Now at the Fulham Town Hall and LUAP’s solo show at 95 New Bond Street. Over the past ten years, she has curated numerous large-scale acclaimed exhibitions, which included Chas Smash’s “A Comfortable Man” Show at Wiltons Music Hall and “Take! Eat!” Curated at St Marylebone Parish Church during Frieze week. She has participated in numerous panel talks, including “Boom for Real, the Late Teenage Years of Jean Michel Basquiat” at Hauser and Wirth in Somerset. MC is growing to become an accomplished part of the burgeoning London Art Scene. Her work has recently been featured in the Kensington and Chelsea Review and Evening Standard.
MC leads Guerin Projects, and it was created as a homage and tribute to her late mother, whose maiden name was Guerin. Guerin Projects focuses on the curation of exhibitions championing women.
Bowman Sculpture is one the foremost galleries in the world for sculpture by Auguste Rodin. The gallery specialises in European Romantic sculpture of the 19th century, dealing in the masters of this period, such as Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, and Aimé-Jules Dalou through to the Impressionist, Modern and Cubist sculpture of Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Henri Laurens, Jaques Lipichitz and Ossip Zadkine. Bowman Sculpture also specialises in significant English New School and Modern British artists such as Lord Frederic Leighton, Hamo Thornycroft, Henry Moore and Elizabeth Frink. Additionally, the gallery deals in a selection of contemporary artists, such as Joanna Allen, Hanneke Beaumont, Maurice Blik, Helaine Blumenfeld, Massimiliano Pelleti and Emily Young.
The family-owned-and-run gallery in St James’s welcomes collectors, enthusiasts, academics, and newcomers to explore its artist-defining sculpture.
Top Photo L. Camille Claudel Bronze R. Curators Marie-Claudine Llamas and Mica Bowman Image James D Kelly
Bowman Sculpture x Guerin Projects Present ‘The Power of She: A Tribute to Women in the Arts’ Dates: 5th May to 16th June 2023