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Where's the frame

Maribelle Bierens

June 23, 2023 12:23 PM


Opening this week, Studio West's latest exhibition, "The Angel in the House," pays homage to John Everett Millais' renowned painting, "The Bridesmaid," while sparking a contemporary dialogue on femininity within domestic spaces.

Featuring the works of seven emerging female painters, Jess Allen, Pippa El-Kadhi Brown, Olha Pryymak, Florence Reekie, Elena Rivera-Montanes, Grace Tobin and Xu Yang, this thought-provoking exhibition invites viewers to explore the multifaceted nature of femininity and challenge its traditional notions. Millais' original masterpiece, displayed at the Fitzwilliam Collection in Cambridge, captures the 19th-century struggles faced by women, cleverly weaving symbols of innocence and sensuality. Through intricate brushwork and allegory, the painting defies societal expectations and presents a young woman with her own agency, poised between the binaries of the "angel in the house" and the seductress.

"The Angel in the House" exhibition builds upon this idea, delving into contemporary scenes of domestic life and offering a nuanced exploration of femininity. The artworks on display delve into the artists' personal experiences and inner worlds, shedding light on the complex relationships women have with their homes. Each painting represents a different facet of femininity, neither wholly rejecting nor embracing traditional stereotypes. By reimagining the concept of "the angel in the house" for the 21st century, this exhibition challenges viewers to reconsider their understanding of femininity in the modern world.

Grace Tobin, Rime, 2023, Oil on Board, 40 x 50cm. © Courtesy of the Artist and STUDIO WEST

Cover image: Elena Rivera Montanes, December, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40cm. © Courtesy of the Artist and STUDIO WEST

The exhibition runs from 22 June to 20 July 2023. For more information, visit the gallery's website.

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