ALEXIS HUNTER & JO SPENCE
Two of Britain's most outspoken and daring female artists in a new exhibition at Richard Saltoun.
This is a treat. An exhibition by two artists whose work is both aesthetically pleasing and has a strong social message. Also, there's just enough obscurity here to make this an opportunity to have your eyes opened by artists whose work you might not have seen.
This show is of work created by Alexis Hunter and Jo Spence throughout the '70s and '80s – work that was explicitly, politically, feminist. Hunter continues to exhibit, and this is her first show since 2006. Jo Spence died of breast cancer in 1992, but has been celebrated recently with major retrospectives at SPACE and Studio Voltaire in 2012.
These works were made when women were significantly under-represented in the art world. Though imbalances still remain, we can't quite understand just how different the situation for women artists was even 30 years ago. Hunter and Spence brought themselves into the foreground, using role-play, re-enactment and storytelling to examine and criticise the patriarchal establishment. Both used personal trauma as a tool for social change. Certainly, Spence didn't live to see things develop as dramatically as they now have, but she leaves a great legacy, and this is a must-see show.
Alexis Hunter & Jo Spence is at Richard Saltoun until 27 September.