This exhibition is inspired by the work of celebrated author and pioneering feminist Virginia Woolf (1882–1941). Using Woolf’s writing as a lens through which to explore feminist perspectives on landscape, domesticity and identity, the exhibition follows Woolf’s notion that creative women ‘think back through our mothers'. It draws attention to the many connections between Woolf, her contemporaries and those who share an affinity with her work – whether such connections are tangible, anecdotal, geographic or imagined.
It was in Cambridge in the 1920s that Woolf first gave the lectures in which she urged future graduates of Newnham and Girton colleges (then for Women) to establish a ‘...room of one’s own'. Her pioneering and motivating spirit – towards financial independence and creative freedom – infuses this exhibition. With the aim of weaving together an artistic, matriarchal genealogy, of showing how Woolf’s writing is embedded within the complex works and histories of a lineage of artists and writers, this exhibition acknowledges and extols a wider creative community whose art rallies to and resonates with Woolf’s cry to rectify the ‘lop-sidedness of history'.
Woolf’s writing regularly depicts a dynamic connection between rooms and houses, land and sea. This exhibition, including works by over eighty artists from 1854 to the present day, is structured in the same way. It explores different perspectives on landscape and public life; domesticity and the home, and the private self and subconscious.