FMP Artist Research – Margaret Harrison

This artist and previous ones as well as ones I will research in the future has / have came from a mix of my own research and peer reviews / 1:1’s that I will discuss and analyse later on. Margaret Harrison is an English feminist and artist whose work uses a variety of media and subject matter. She founded the London Women’s Liberation Art Group in 1970 and in 1971, an exhibition of her work including a piece portraying Hugh Hefner as a naked bunny girl – shown above – was shut down by the police. This, to me, shows she deals with difficult subjects and topics and because the pieces were created in a different time to now, people obviously reacted differently then than they would now. I like how she doesn’t shy away from controversial things, and this feminist subject is what I want in my work, but in a more subtle way.

All of her pieces are focused on women and feminism, and I really admire this. Also, all of her exhibitions were to do with some sort of big event or happening for women at the time her work was being shown, for example, in 1975, she collaborated with other artists – Kay Hunt and Mary Kelly – for the exhibition “Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry”. The exhibition focused on the stories of 150 women workers who were affected by the Equal Pay Act, which had been passed in 1970. She focuses a lot on social strategies and issues and this is something I want to do with my work, not just for my FMP, but for my future as a whole. Her exhibitions were recognised a key feminist exhibitions for women and the feminist movement too.

She used quite a few juxtapositions, often using bright colours against dull and subdued topics. Her work has been shown in the Tate most recently. She explores gender identity and stereotyping, which links in really well with my theme as I have asked some questions about this in my interviews with the important women in my life. These topics are evident in her work above, particularly, ‘Banana Woman’ from 1971. She also focuses on the way media portrays women and the way men view women in a ‘funny’ way.

Margaret used watercolours, coloured and non-coloured graphite, video / monitors, audio, photographs, print, ink, lithograph, crayons, acrylic paint, household items such as gloves, brooches and buttons and much more in her work, which is a very wide variety to create such broad pieces. I will use photographs in my work as I am aiming to do a photoshoot with someone modelling my final garment, and everything else will be developed as I go along.

Below are my references for this research:

Toni ♥

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