In celebration of International Women's Day 2018, this week on the blog we're shining a light on 5 brilliant women artists currently featured in the exhibition Picturing People: The Ingram Collection. From the pioneering Modern British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, to the bold and unashamed paintings of BP Portait Award winning painter Aleah Chapin, delve into their work and stories below.

Anita Klein (b. 1960)

Right: Reading the Paper (2006), Anita Klein

Anita Klein's paintings are deceivingly simple at first glance. They depict everyday family activities, often in humourous tones. There is a heart, emotion and tenderness to her paintings, evoking memories and feelings that are universally understood, as seen in Reading the Paper (2006), above right. 

Klein studied at Chelsea and the Slade School of Art. She is a fellow and past president of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers (RE) and her work is in many private and public collections in Europe, the USA and Australia, including Arts Council England and the British Museum. She divides her time between studios in London and Anghiari, Italy.

Rosemary Rutherford (1912-1972)

Right: VAD Nurse (1940), Rosemary Rutherford

'It was an exhausting struggle trying to be a good artist and a good nurse. In the end, I gave up being a good nurse.'

Slade-trained Rosemary Rutherford was an Official War Artist in WW2, sketching & painting her experiences working for the Red Cross as a Voluntary Aid Attachment, one of many working in hospitals and convalescent homes with the bare minimum of training. Before the war, Rutherford's talents and career were just beginning to blossom, but she was keen to sign up offer her services during the war. Her jobs included driving a mobile canteen round gun batteries and working as a nurse in hospitals and convalescent homes. 

VAD Nurse (1940, right) illustrates her tender and eloquent depictions of wartime life.

Aleah Chapin (b. 1986)

Aleah Chapin (b. 1986), The Tempest, 2013, Oil on canvas © Aleah Chapin, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York

Aleah Chapin says her paintings are ‘about exploring beauty and age…They [the women] are strong, wise and hilarious. I love them’. Chapin was raised by such strong women on an island north of Seattle, Washington. Usually nudes, her paintings are highly detailed and realistic, depicting women in uncompromising yet mesmerising light. She tries not to let the idealisation of women in the images that bombard us on a daily basis affect her or her work.

Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Two Figures (1947) Pen and black ink, green crayon and pencil © The Estate of Barbara Hepworth

One of the leading figures of Modern British sculpture, Dame Barbara Hepworth was one of few women trailblazing internationally in a largely male dominated art scene. Her name and influence now lives on to inspire future generations at the Hepworth Wakefield.

While Hepworth's sculptures are instantly recognisable, she also produced a series of drawings and paintings based on her time observing doctors and surgeons in hospitals. Created from 1947-49 during an illness her daughter was suffering, Hepworth realised that, ‘the moulding of plaster jackets...was very near to my own profession’. She met the surgeon Norman Capener in 1947 who suggested that she see ‘the work of surgeons in action’.

Speaking about the experiences, she said 'From the very first moment I was entirely enthralled by the classic beauty of what I saw there; classic in the sense that architecture and function were perfectly blended and purity of idea and grace of execution were in complete harmony.'

Nashrath Ahra Lameer (b.1980)

Mini Death by Stick, Nashrath Ahra Lameer 

Lameer’s work explores her long term fascination in miniature concepts, and how they act as gateways to childhood reenactments. Expanding on childhood and its memory, her work questions the dynamics of scale, giving shape to a world of imagination and curiosity. Coming from a family of artists, Lameer spent a large part of growing up in her parents’ native, Sri Lanka, before returning to the UK a decade ago. She is a freelance contemporary and visual artist with over 20 years in drawing and painting, and recently completed her Bachelor in Fine Art Degree from Central Saint Martins, London.

Picturing People: The Ingram Collection is open till 1 April 2018. Entry with a £5.00 Day Pass or £7.50 Annual Pass.

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