Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Catherine Bertola: "Over the Teacups", Galerie M + R Fricke, Berlin

Over the Teacups: Exhibition of work by Catherine Bertola
Galerie M + R Fricke, Invalidenstr. 114, Berlin
13 September-1 November 2008
Private view: Friday 12 September, 7-9pm

This exhibition brings together a collection of new and existing work by British artist Catherine Bertola, and will include installation, drawing, embroidery and photographic works in her first solo show outside the UK.

The title of the exhibition, Over the Teacups is taken from the name of an advice column in Women at Home, one of the most pioneering and influential women’s periodicals of the Victorian period. The column was a place where women could exchange confidences as equals and friends regardless of class, age and status. In the radically changing period of the 1800’s the women’s periodical became a vital tool in helping to both define and challenge perceptions of femininity, that still underpin many of our views on women today, a theme which runs through the work brought together in this exhibition.

The exhibition will feature for the first time work from two new ongoing series Thought for the week and Bluestockings.

Thought for the week is a series of text pieces based on quotes collected by the artist from weekly emails received from a life coaching website. The quotes are intended to “inspire and encourage positive thinking”, in an attempt to affirm her belief in them and make her a better person, the artist has carefully and meticulously embroidered these statements to create a series of crafted objects, that hark back to the needlework projects featured in traditional women’s magazine

Bluestockings, is a series of black ink drawings of patterns of the artists’ own lace tights, and follows on from previous works developed out of a fascination with lace as an object through its manufacture and associations with femininity and women’s social history. The drawings allude to tradition lace design work, celebrating the beauty of fabric and the labour of the women who would have historically fabricated it . Each drawing is named after one of the original members of Bluestocking Society, a group of pioneering Georgian women who through networks of friendship, mutual support, intellectual encouragement and professional patronage promoted education for women in an age where they had few rights and little chance of independence.

Catherine Bertola (b. 1976, Rugby) studied at the University of Newcastle (1995-1999), she currently lives and works in Gateshead. Over the last seven years Bertola has undertaken a number of residencies and commissions, working with organisations such as; Locus+ and Vane in Newcastle upon Tyne, Beacon Art Project in Lincolnshire, and the Government Art Collection, V&A Museum and Triangle Arts Trust in London. She has exhibited widely across the UK including The Drawing Room, Union, Fieldgate Gallery and Jerwood Space in London and Baltic in Gateshead. Solo shows at International 3, Manchester (2005), Fabrica, Brighton and Firstsite, Colchester (both 2006). International exhibitions include CAC, Vilnius and Kaunas Picture Gallery, Kaunas, Lithuania (both 2007), Galerie M+R Fricke, Berlin (2007) and Artium, Vitoria Gastiez (2008).

image: Catherine Bertola
Bluestockings (Elizabeth Montagu), 2008
Pen on paper
135 x 80 cms