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Artistic Twist on Women's Rights in New Exhibition

A major new solo exhibition by Edinburgh artist, Rachael Rebus, will explore the female form and how it is portrayed in contemporary Scottish culture.


Women’s Work is a typically ambitious show from the Leith born visual artist who has a growing reputation for her bold and thought provoking artwork.


The 30 year old specialises in painting, drawing and collage, and for this exhibition takes her inspiration for recurring body postures from Greek antiquity which can still be seen in today’s society through the media, celebrity culture and in advertising.  


“Through my paintings I explore these themes by looking at the outlines, margins and frames projected onto the female form, as well as how these relate to women’s rights issues which affect Scottish women and girls in the face of Brexit and the #metoo campaign.” explains Rachael.


In the current age of austerity and threats to women's rights, Women’s Work will examine how far the female race has progressed in its fight for equality. By exploring society’s definition of feminine roles throughout history, the show will highlight what women do in their fight to transform the definitions and conditions that characterise them.


The exhibition presents drawings and paintings examining stories of women in Scotland throughout history who have contributed to advancements in women’s rights, exploring and celebrating narratives of triumph in the face of adversity.


“These women are an inspiration and it’s incredible to think about all they have achieved while so few people still know so little about them. It’s hard to believe that women who were working 100 years apart are still fighting the same causes. We still have a long way to go.”


The exhibition includes portraits of political activist Mary Barbour - best known for her leadership role in the Glasgow Rent Strikes of 1915; and Edith Pechey, one of the Edinburgh Seven - a group of women who fought Edinburgh University to gain the same educational rights as men, allowing them to become the first women to matriculate from a British university and qualify as doctors.


Also to be featured are Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay; First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon; Talat Yaqoob, Director of Equate Scotland, and Monica Lennon MSP who is leading the way to end period poverty.


“The exhibition is a mixture of small oil paintings that I call ‘mug shots’ juxtaposed with large A0 marker pen drawings and a large oil painting of Mary Barbour. I want my portraits to convey the sense of determination of each woman so I don’t worry about painting an exact image of a person.”


Rachael currently lives and works in Edinburgh. She graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art with a First Class Fine Art (BA Hons) degree in 2010, complementing her training with Turps Banana Art School’s correspondence course.


She has exhibited throughout the UK with residencies in Norway and Venice, and presented her first solo show in 2017 at Nomas Projects in Dundee. Her recent Harriet Harman ‘mug shot’ will go on display at the Scottish National Gallery as part of Artists at Work which is running from 19 May until September.


“I want people to enjoy my work and for it to be fun as well as addressing serious issues. When I begin painting I never have a fixed idea about what the final image will be. I start by making one mark and then respond to that and then the next mark and so on. Quite often the medium of the paint itself will determine what happens and I just go along with it.”


Women’s Work exhibits at the Six Foot Gallery in Glasgow’s Pentagon Centre on Washington Street. It will open to the public from 14 June until 9 July.

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