Women Artists of the North East Library

22 June - 9 September 2018 Gateshead

Launch event: Friday 22nd June 2018, 5pm – 7pm


Workplace is delighted to present Women Artists of the North East Library, an evolving exhibition and public programme presenting the work of women artists associated with the North East, exploring influence regionally and further afield.


Women Artists of the North East Library is an artist-led project that brings together donated material, including: books, art, images, oral histories and music, to form a usable resource that contributes to the history of women artists working in the region. The Library was initiated by Holly Argent & Rene McBrearty in 2017 and is currently hosted by The Northern Charter in Newcastle.


Throughout the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 the library will be resident at Workplace Foundation in Gateshead and available to the public as an evolving exhibition, library, and platform for events and discussions. The project aims to use the premise of presenting artists work as an opportunity to explore the act of building such a library; In what ways do artists make work in relation to, or with, other artists? How can a library of women artists associated with a region, exist for a community? How do we find our role models? Can archival strategies contribute to intergenerational conversations and art making?


The project will open with works from Phyllis Christopher, Tess Denman-Cleaver, Kate Liston and Harriet Sutcliffe.


Building on previous public and private events initiated by the library, which include open library days, city walks and a one day residency at BALTIC Library and Archive, the project in Gateshead will, for the first time, include exhibited work by artists at varying points in their careers alongside works by key historical figures.


Throughout the project, artists and the public are invited to nominate Women artists and donate material that they think should be added to the Library.


The Women Artists of the North East Library at Workplace is curated by Holly Argent in conversation with George Vasey, Café Gallery Projects, London and Workplace Foundation, Gateshead.




Holly Argent graduated from Newcastle University in 2017. Recent exhibitions and performances include Studio is Sudden: with Giles Bailey and CIRCA Projects (2018), Can I be me? at Northern Charter (2017) and ArtHouses: Whitley Bay Film Festival. She set up the Women Artists of the North East Library with Rene McBrearty and co-curated Where Do We Go From Here? At Ex Libris Gallery. She was awarded the Forshaw Rome Residency at The British School at Rome, from Newcastle University (July 2017) and the Luby’s Legs Foundation Emerging Artist Bursary. She currently sits on the Programme Committee at The Northern Charter.


George Vasey is a curator and writer. He is currently a Teaching Fellow in Curating at Newcastle University and curator at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. He curated the Turner Prize 2017 at Ferens Arts Gallery, Hull. In 2016-2017 he is lead mentor on Syllabus II, an alternative educational platform for artists set up by Wysing Arts Centre, S1, New Contemporaries, Spike Island, Studio Voltaire and Eastside Projects. His writing has appeared in Art Monthly, Art Review, Apollo, Burlington and Frieze. In 2013, he was writer in residence at Jerwood Space, London. Recent independent projects include These Rotten Words (Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 2017), Blend the Acclaim of your Chant with the Timbrels (Jerwood Space, London, 2016) and Eric Bainbridge: Potholes Drawings 1981 – 2015, (Workplace, London, 2016), Jo Spence & Alexis Hunter (Richard Saltoun, London, 2013) and A Small Hiccup (Grand Union, Birmingham, 2013). He studied BA Fine Art at Newcastle University and MA Curating at Goldsmiths. From 2014 to 2016 he was curator at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland and has previously worked in public, artist-led and commercial galleries in education and curatorial roles.