The show

Katy Hessel and The Great Women Artists return to Palazzo Monti!

After the success of past editions, with Flora Yukhnovich, Antonia Showering and Kate Dunn in 2018, Sara Anstis, Ella Walker, Charlotte Edey and Somaya Critchlow in 2019 and Sahara Longe, Michaela Yearwood-Dan and Katy Stubbs in 2021, the author of "The History of Art Without Men" will curate the 4th edition of her project which promotes the work of young British contemporary artists.

Saturday 3 December, from 18 to 21, the exhibition will be inaugurated which will feature Christina Kimeze, Lydia Blakeley and Eliza Hopewell: three young English artists with different artistic paths but united by a sensitive vision of the reality that surrounds them translated into painting.

In her works Christina Kimeze tackles concepts of memory, interiority and nostalgia through self-possessed women placed in vivid and emotionally charged landscapes, reinterpreted with the lens of the imagination.

Capturing images of reality through the telephone is the starting point of Lydia Blakeley's work who then brings them back to painting with her very personal and recognizable filter.

Finally, the multifaceted Eliza Hopewell challenges the social vision of women, subverting objects and spaces that are typically associated with them, to create oil works and the screenplay of a short film in which nuanced and delicate stories of femininity transpire.

The presence of the curator and the artists at the opening night will be an opportunity for visitors to catch the voice of the main actresses of this project and of the English art scene.

I am happy to collaborate with Edoardo Monti for the fourth annual The Great Women Artists residency at Palazzo Monti. This year we're featuring three of Britain's most exciting female painters: Lydia Blakeley, Eliza Hopewell and Christina Kimeze. This exhibition, with paintings of objects, figures, internal and external environments, is united by the use of colors that recall the Brescian palace and landscape, a wild surrealism and women who exist – full of freedom – in backdrops that evoke a forest or a dull night sky. In dialogue with the Northern Italian region, both in the landscape and in the history of art linked to the territory, the artists of this residence have adopted the motifs and palette of the city to produce emotional and engaging works.

Lydia Blakeley, often in search of fashions, foods and objects imbued with a quintessential British cultural identity, responded to the Italian domestic environment during her residency. She says, "I studied curiosities and objects in 18th-century majolica porcelain, a technique initially created during the Italian Renaissance, which has been refined over the centuries to help enhance the intensity of the colors."

Always with a playful attitude, Blakeley sourced images for his work from online auction sites for paintings titled 'Whimsy' and 'Curiosity'. Steeped in a European tradition and painted in an almost effervescent style to evoke and adhere to the rarity and sophistication of the object, Blakeley's paintings are great commentaries on objects from the past in a contemporary setting. By immortalizing these fine objects through paint, his work provides an interesting discussion of the relevance of these goods today.

Blakeley also looked to the history of Italian painters, especially Tiepolo and his greyhound paintings. Responding to his drawings, he reworked “their shape and movements suspended on paper. I started doing studies, works on paper of Italian greyhounds. Following my studies I also made a painting of Bea, who lives in the Palazzo, and of her friend Ottone, both dogs repeated several times on the canvas, interacting with each other or in their own solitude, drawing from Tiepolo and his drawings with numerous figures canines that inhabit the canvas.“

Eliza Hopewell, widely known for her paintings on ceramics, tiles or murals, focused on smaller paintings on canvas, paper and board. Focusing on women reminiscent of Renaissance-style medusa paintings, with long flowing hair and silhouetted against a surrealist sky - drenched in a shade of pink synonymous with palace colors - Hopewell's paintings represent a thrilling departure from her ceramic work and mural.

His paintings are filmic – they remind me of Cindy Sherman's photographs capturing the climax in a dramatic scene, with something happening before and/or after – also mixing history and the contemporary. It's as if they reference biblical or mythological scenes, while still being focused on women through a contemporary lens.

'During my time in residency I became very interested in gothic literature and poetry, especially Emily Brontë, Shirley Jackson and Carson McCullers. Using images of the wild and unruly in their writing has seeped into my work. Mysterious landscapes and storms began to interrupt the housework of the women in my paintings.'

Christina Kimeze exhibits three large paintings that focus on indoor and outdoor settings. Using oil sticks and oil paint on cardboard, Kimeze paints scenes that evoke partitions to other worlds or being on the threshold between two places. His backgrounds – fluid and dynamic with streaks of paint intertwining with spots of light, evoking abstract foliage in a wilderness or shutters – blend with the main subject – a woman walking or bathing, evoking freedom and liberation. This creates an image that is both captivating and at the same time immersed in our world and almost divine.

Speaking about the meaning of these works, Kimeze said, “I feel these works are deeply personal and belong to a new exploration of the idea of existing between two emotional spaces and the feelings that can arise from this interstice. Curtains are important as a border, as well as a symbol of action for what is revealed or hidden. I wanted to place them in an enclosed space rather than an expansive landscape, while thinking about how to compartmentalize our emotions.'

Hanging high and large-scale, Kimeze's paintings consist of multi-panel walkways that symbolize our multifaceted selves. Her aim is to carefully observe these women: “Looking at women in this and other jobs is important; not looking at them from an equal or top-down viewpoint, but looking at them by giving them power and strength, in part symbolizing the power of the imagination to give free will and create change.”

Katy Hessel


Timetable and tickets


Piazza Tebaldo Brusato, 22
25121 Brescia


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