Women and the Mind Doctors: Upcoming exhibitions

Two exciting exhibitions open early next month, one of which features a number of items from the Bethlem Collection. The Freud Museum’s Mad, Bad and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors, runs from 10 October until 2 February 2014. A mix of historical objects and contemporary art  highlights the experience of women and their relationships to those who confined, cared for and listened to them.  The exhibition also shows how women today conduct their own explorations of mind and imagination in challenging works of art. Items from Bethlem include ECT machines, strong clothing and restraints and Richard Dadd’s A Sketch for an Idea of Crazy Jane. Bethlem Gallery artist Jane Fradgley will also have several artworks on display, from her recent show at the Institute of Psychiatry.

Meanwhile, a major retrospective exhibition devoted to another creative woman opens this weekend: Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary runs from 5 October 2013 until 26 January 2014 at Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham. With no training and no aspirations to fame, Madge Gill produced thousands of ink drawings during her lifetime. Her work remains an enigma: is it true she was inspired by an ethereal spirit guide? Was she genuinely in touch with ‘the beyond’, or was art-making a form of self therapy?

Featuring over 100 original artworks – including the ten metre calico The Crucifixion of the Soul, which has not been on display in the UK since 1979, and contextual photographs and documents, this exhibition is the first of its kind. Madge Gill was championed and collected by Jean Dubuffet, who coined the term ‘art brut’ (raw art), the precursor to the term ‘Outsider Art’. Those interested in Outsider Art might also want to visit an exhibition at St Pancras Hospital, which is on until 28 November. Epiphanies! Secrets of Outsider Art showcases up to twenty artists, from London, Australia and the USA.

Richard Dadd - Sketch for an Idea of Crazy Jane

Richard Dadd – Sketch for an Idea of Crazy Jane

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2 Responses to “Women and the Mind Doctors: Upcoming exhibitions”


  1. 1 bethlemheritage November 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary

    Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ

    Until 26 January 2014

    With no training and no aspirations to fame, Madge Gill produced thousands of ink drawings during her lifetime. Her work remains an enigma: is it true she was inspired by an ethereal spirit guide? Was she genuinely in touch with ‘the beyond’, or was art-making a form of self therapy?

    Orleans House Gallery invites you to delve into the world of Madge Gill (1882 – 1961) in this major retrospective exhibition supported by the Wellcome Trust. Featuring over 100 original artworks, and contextual photographs and documents, this exhibition is the first of its kind. Madge Gill was championed and collected by Jean Dubuffet, who coined the term ‘art brut’ (raw art), the precursor to the term ‘Outsider Art’. Gill is considered the most important, influential and recognised British ‘outsider artist.’ This project explores Gill’s work, history and psychic / mediumistic context in-depth, in order to question the use of such terms, whilst celebrating the benefits of creativity for wellbeing.

    Working mainly on paper, card and textiles, Gill used pen to create maze-like surfaces with a glittering, almost hallucinatory quality that often reveal a female face. Ranging from postcard size to over 10 metres long, her work immerses the eye in a dark world of mystery, beauty and obsession. Her work has been included in previous Orleans House Gallery Outsider and Visionary art exhibitions, the Tate Gallery, and more recently at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Museum of Everything and Nunnery Gallery.

    The focal point of the exhibition is The Crucifixion of the Soul, Gill’s most important work. Over ten metres long, this immense calico is inscribed with Gill’s finely wrought doodle-like drawings and is testament to Gill’s commitment to creativity.

    The project has been generously funded by a People Award from the Wellcome Trust. Curators have worked with psychologists, medical historians, biographers, art historians and art psychotherapists to bring different approaches to Gill together within the exhibition and accompanying catalogue. Present day artists from the Art & Soul group, who celebrate mental and emotional wellbeing through the arts, are also represented in the project.

    Bringing together little-seen loans from the Newham Archive; the College of Psychic Studies in South Kensington; the Henry Boxer Gallery and other archival material and artworks from private collections, this exhibition is a must-see for all those interested in art, psychology, spiritualism, social history or all of the above.

    Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ

    Free admission

    Gallery open Tuesday-Saturday 1.00-4.30pm, Sunday 2.00-4.30pm

    Tel: 020 8831 6000

    Email: artsinfo@richmond.gov.uk mailto:artsinfo@richmond.gov.uk

    Website: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/arts

    For more information please visit: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/arts/

    Members of the public should call the Council’s contact centre for more information by phoning 08456 122660.

    Journalists requiring more information should contact Mark Coleman in Richmond Council’s press office on 020 8891 7160 or Orleans House Gallery’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Mark De Novellis on 020 8831 6000.

    Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary curated by Mark De Novellis in collaboration with Henry Boxer, Roger Cardinal and Vivienne Roberts.

    The accompanying catalogue, Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary will be available from the gallery shop. The exhibition will also coincide with a new biography on Gill by Roger Cardinal, a book of Madge Gill’s mediumistic drawings on postcards by Henry Boxer and a roundtable event on November 16.

    The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/

  2. 2 bethlemheritage December 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    In case you missed it, the Madge Gill exhibition was featured in the BBC1 documentary on outsider art:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03js57h/imagine…_Winter_2013_Turning_the_Art_World_Inside_Out/

    The recent Madge Gill panel discussion has now been uploaded to YouTube:

    Enjoy!

    (on behalf of Mark De Novellis, http://www.richmond.gov.uk/arts)


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