Monday, 2 November 2015

From Bluebeard’s Castle to The Woodshed

It’s good to see Fairlynch Museum volunteers out and about speaking about their pet subjects, ranging from the Pebblebeds to Favourite Artists.  

But Maggie Giraud’s inspection of ‘Something in the Woodshed’ will be rather different from Nicky Hewitt’s talk on the natural beauties of our Commons which I mention here

Maggie, who is involved in cataloguing the Museum’s art collection and preparing the 2016 exhibition on the work of Joyce Dennys, is giving  the second talk in a series held on a monthly basis at Brook Gallery, Exeter, beginning October 2015.  The talk, as described on her website, “tiptoes into the sinister world, where artists have portrayed uncomfortable images of women, and where things are not always as they seem.”

How very unsettling! But there are familiar as well as unfamiliar names in the list of artists – Balthus, Bellmer, Degas, Magritte, Manet, Matisse, Picasso, Rego and Sickert to name just a few! – which Maggie may be mentioning in her talk.     

‘Something in the Woodshed’ on 24 November is the prelude to what are described as a 16-day campaign “to highlight the line between violence against women and human rights.”   The campaign itself runs from the UN International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November to Human Rights Day on 10 December. 

Maggie’s talk coincides with the launch of ‘16 Days of Action’ an exhibition by Exeter-based artist Catherine Cartwright.  It consists of prints which explore the visualisation of domestic abuse, particularly coercive control, shown alongside prints from Paula Rego’s series about female genital mutilation.  

‘Something in the Woodshed’  will take place at 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets cost £10, including refreshments. Spaces are limited so call or email the gallery to reserve your place. For more information visit

For some reason or other, when I read the title of Maggie’s talk, the name of Bluebeard came into my head – and sure enough this archetypal bogeyman crops up in the work of Paula Rego, a  Brook Gallery favourite about whom I’d like to know more. Hence the spooky portrait by Harry Clarke which illustrates the 1922 edition of The fairy tales of Charles Perrault.

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