This International Women's Day Auction has a totally different format to other years. We have invited seven female curators to each create an auction of female identifying artists, which will all run concurrently from 23rd February to 9th March. We are introducing each of the curators on our blog, this week speaking with Louise Fitzjohn, founder of Liminal Gallery.
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We're very excited about having seven female curators for this year's AOAP International Women's Day Auction. Do you think it's harder for women to be successful in the art world than it is for men?
Absolutely and this has been proven with data from The Burns Halperin Report 2022, which gives a very gloomy reality check for many in terms of the success of women in the art world, or lack of, and that despite the protests of many, women are still wildly underrepresented in museums, galleries and auctions. Even worse off are artist mothers, as Hettie Judah so brilliantly put together in her recent book ‘How Not To Exclude Artist Mothers (and Other Parents)’.
Last year I curated an exhibition called ‘Matrescence’ featuring the work of artist mothers and, building on this, I have solely selected artist mothers for the AOAP International Women’s Day Auction, to give them a platform which is often denied to them. To show that the conversations they are having are incredibly important. Yes their works may have been painted on the kitchen table during nap time, or with a child strapped to their chest, but this sheer determination to create in fits and bursts gives the work an unparalleled energy. These artists should be championed at all costs and I am so delighted to use this fantastic platform to showcase such a varied bunch of brilliant artists.
Can you tell us about how you got to the position you are in today?
I am so privileged to have opened my own Gallery in Margate in October 2022. After operating online for just over a year, a fantastically quirky little space came up and I couldn’t resist. Prior to Liminal Gallery, I was the Director for a London-based Gallery for 10 years, and before that worked in various galleries, working my way up from intern to curator. It has been a long journey but one which I am so passionate about. I truly feel so lucky to be in a position where I can champion the artists which I am so excited by – who are working in ways I haven’t seen before and are truly challenging the art world.
At AOAP we always try to champion rising talent. What emerging artist are you most excited about in your auction?
I am so excited about all the artists I have brought into the auction, which is why I am working with them all. I honestly think there is so much incredible talent in my line up, so it is impossible to say. However, I do currently have a solo exhibition with Alexis Soul-Gray, who is an absolute rising star. She just had a sell-out solo exhibition in Stockholm at the end of 2022, has her solo exhibition with me at Liminal Gallery, is in a group exhibition at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery and has an upcoming solo exhibition in LA in the Summer. She is destined for great things and it’s been such a joy to watch her flourish over the past 3 years.
What artwork would you buy if money was no object?
Without a doubt, I would buy a Michaela Yearwood Dan painting. They are just divine and I could get lost in them for hours. I was lucky enough to buy a small painted ceramic bowl from a studio sale a few years ago and I adore it. I couldn’t afford her works now though. I’m such a huge fan of hers, I have seen her several times but couldn’t get up the courage to say hello!
What upcoming projects are you looking forward to in 2023?
March is also the Power of Women Festival in Margate, so I will be hosting a solo exhibition by Margaret Calvert OBE. She designed all the road signs we use in the UK back in the 1950s, and has since designed the gov.uk font, the National Rail typography and several other huge national projects. I am so excited to be celebrating such an icon and bringing her incredibly important work to Margate.
I am also co-curating an exhibition in Liminal Gallery with Gemma Peppe, Director of Art on a Postcard, with artist Andrew Torr which will be opening in May. I also have some very exciting international events which I will be announcing soon. A big year for Liminal Gallery!