MUNTHE ART MONDAY: LILY MACRAE
From: Skotland, Glasgow
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
I’m Lily and I am a Scottish artist, primarily painter, based in Glasgow. I work full time out of my studio in a warehouse by the river Clyde. Recently, I've been working towards my first solo show in London. 'All That Remains' curated by Purslane art and held at the very beautiful 14 Cavendish, an 18th-century London mansion which has been gutted and stripped back to its core and original features.
I have exhibited some new work and some pieces made during lockdown which haven't been seen in person before, and 10% of all proceeds from the show did go to Women’s Aid. It was on from 23-30th November.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
For me, being a woman has been on the most part, a positive aspect of my career. I was recently part of an all-female group show in London at the Soho Revue with Purslane, a business run by curator Charlie Siddick which redirects profits to philanthropic causes from their exhibitions. The show was in support of Women for Women, donating to Female Afghani survivors of war. That was an incredible experience working with some very talented women.
It's taking too long, but women do seem to be getting represented and recognized more widely, and there is this community feeling amongst female artists boosting each other up. I’ve found that I’ve been supported by and spurred on by amazing female creatives and I’m really grateful for that. Having said all of that, I think there is a very long way to go to equality and that your career and success shouldn’t be defined by your gender.
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
This is difficult as there are so many, but here are a select few of the female creatives who have inspired me recently...
Daisy Collingridge is an artist who I find incredibly inspiring. After exhibiting together, a couple of years ago we’ve stayed in touch and her work never fails to take my breath away. She makes ‘flesh suits’ or ‘Squishies’ which are an exploration of fabric, form and flesh, and her work considers and celebrates the body in all its many wonderful forms.
Cathrin Hoffman is a German artist and an absolutely amazing painter who I came across fairly recently and I adore her work. The twisted, contorted figures in her works are also an exploration into the body and humanity in the post digital age.
Artemisia Gentileschi’s work has been an influence on my own. Not only in terms of form but just the idea of practicing at that time as a female artist - I think focusing on that too much can distract from her work which should be the main focus, and that despite gender her work deserves a place in the art canon. But There’s no denying that she was as role model and a trailblazer.
Flora Yukhnovich is another female painter whom I’ve followed for a few years and has been an influence on my own practice. Her paintings reimagine the language of the Rococo she examines the portrayal of femininity and the decorative and works somewhere in between that gap of abstraction and figuration which I am really interested in.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
In an ideal world gender wouldn’t define you or be an issue but I think for me, self-promotion is hard. Pushing your work and maintaining the self-belief is something I struggled with at the start. To be assertive and use the right kind of language - not apologizing unnecessarily and standing up for yourself. I think the more mature in my work I get I realize that confidence in yourself and your work is a good thing, and it just pushes you to make more and strive for the sort of treatment you deserve.
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
I mean it's so subjective to everyone that I almost don’t know how to answer that question. I feel like once you make something it then doesn’t really belong to you anymore its meaning goes somewhat out with your control. It’s something I really enjoy hearing about, things that people see, recognize, or feel when they look at something you make, it could be completely different from what you intended, that doesn’t make it any less valid though. Ultimately whatever they notice, I just want them to notice and to be drawn into the work, to stop and look and not walk past.
Each Monday we bring you a fresh interview with a talented female artist.
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