Discover Australian female artists online

10 Jul 2020 | 3 mins

The Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at The University of Western Australia will launch a new online database for the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art which will be accessible from the UWA website from Saturday 18 July.

The database will give members of the public, researchers and students access to a significant collection which consists of more than 700 works of art created by Australian female artists.

The Cruthers Collection comprises a generous gift of artworks from the private collection of the Cruthers family to The University of Western Australia in 2007. 

Since that time, the collection has grown and shifted in focus, supported by Sheila: a Foundation for Women in the Visual Arts, to be a unique and vibrant public collection that reflects the richness, diversity and power of art by Australian artists.  

The new, searchable database will make the full catalogue of artworks in the Cruthers Collection, and a selection of images, accessible to the public, sharing this important resource with audiences both locally and around the world. 

Lee Kinsella, Curator of the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, said it was a collection of remarkable voices. 

“The artists represented demonstrate a vast range of ways in which to be in the world and communicate as active participants as they critique, challenge and change society,” Ms Kinsella said.  

The Curthers Collection is one of several major public collections owned by UWA, including the UWA Art Collection and the Berndt Museum of Anthropology Collection.

Artworks and objects from these collections are presented through free public exhibitions and programs at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, and examined in scholarly and specialist publications.

The new database for the Cruthers Collection extends the reach and accessibility of the artworks, allowing audiences around the world to connect to, explore and learn about them.

Director of the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery Professor Ted Snell said The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art was a treasure trove.

“It documents the extraordinary contribution female artists have made to our understanding of Australian life and culture,” Professor Ted Snell said.

The new database will make the full catalogue of works in the collection permanently accessible. 

Helen Carroll, Curatorial Advisor of the Cruthers Collection and Sheila Foundation board member, said the online database came at a time when it was important to be digitally connected.

“Our capacity to travel to see exhibitions is limited, even shrinking, so it’s timely to be opening up a truly important and inspiring collection to the world like the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art,” Ms Carroll said.

“The work of Australia’s female artists and their central place in our national story deserves to be seen and appreciated. 

“This wonderful repository of images shines a much-needed spotlight on the integral contribution of women to art and culture in this country. We are delighted to work with The University of Western Australia to continue to grow the collection and share it with the world.”

In addition to the launch of the online database, audiences will have the opportunity to explore recent acquisitions and donations from the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art  in-person in the forthcoming exhibition (Un)ladylike Acts: Recent Acquisitions from the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art.

Opening on Saturday 29 August as part of the reopening of Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, (Un)ladylike Acts will feature a selection of artworks that variously reject, embrace and wield gendered perspectives, offering a provocative survey of attitudes toward art practice and its politics.

Featuring works by artists Madison Bycroft, Kate Just, Maria Kozic and Sarah Contos, among others, the exhibition examines ways that ‘women artists’ wrestle with the connotations and constraints of such a classification. 

Spanning painting, photography, textile and video, the works in (Un)ladylike Acts explore concepts of self-portraiture, performance and visibility.

(Un)ladylike Acts will be on show at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery until 5 December 2020. Visitors to the Cruthers Collection online database will also be able to explore information on the artworks featured for the duration of the exhibition.

For more information on the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, visit the website here.

Media references

Megan Hyde (UWA Cultural Precinct) 08 6488 7477
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) 08 6488 6876
Lee Kinsella (UWA Curator of the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art) 08 6488 1837

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