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University of Cambridge

Exhibition: A Spirit Inside

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Start Time: 23 Sep 2023 - 10:30
End Time: 14 Jan 2024 - 17:00
The Lightbox
Chobham Road
Woking
GU21 4AA
United Kingdom

Exhibition: A Spirit Inside

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are collaborating with on A Spirit Inside, a new exhibition at which will display 29 works by women and non-binary artists across a diversity of mediums, including sculpture, paintings, film and collage.  Exploring how women artists have grappled with the notion and sense of ‘spirit’, the themes range from internal contemplation to external expression.

Artists include Lubaina Himid, Paula Rego, Dora Carrington, Rose Wylie, Eileen Agar, Sin Wai Kin, Bridget Riley, Soheila Sokhanvari, Anna Perach and Linder.

The exhibition is the first time The Women’s Art Collection has worked with a museum to display its art, providing a wider opportunity for the British public to see some of the most important 20th and 21st century works by women and non-binary artists.  Alongside 11 works from The Ingram Collection, visitors will have an opportunity to see a range of artists, from historic greats to important contemporaries, such as Barbara Hepworth, Leonora Carrington, Miriam Schapiro, Man Fung Yi, Permindar Kaur and Olivia Bax, amongst many others.

The genesis of the exhibition stems from a 1920 letter that Dora Carrington wrote to a friend, neatly explaining her reluctance to marry:

“To marry him would not make it any better, because one cannot change a spirit inside one”.

Carrington’s spirit fascinated many who met her. Virginia Woolf said of Carrington “I wonder sometimes what she’s at… [but] she is such a bustling eager creature, that one can’t help liking her”. While Carrington’s reputation is now assured, this wasn’t always the case, perhaps in part because of her reluctance to exhibit. Instead, she preferred to gift her paintings as tokens of friendship. One such work will be at the forefront of this new exhibition.

Iris Tree on a Horse (c.1920s) shows the artist’s friend as a knight, riding a white horse under a midnight sky. In oil, ink, silver foil and mixed media on glass, Carrington’s breadth of technique, as well as her taste for the fantastical, is exemplified. Carrington’s friend, poet Iris Tree, would own this work for the rest of her life until eventually it became one of the earliest additions to The Ingram Collection. This powerful work, expressing female resilience and rebellion, became the starting point of the exhibition.

Visitor Information: The Lightbox is situated in Woking (25 minutes from London Waterloo by train) and the galleries are open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday*, Friday, Saturday 10.30am – 5.00pm, *Last Thursday of the month 10.30am – 8.30pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm. For more information and Café opening hours please visit or call 01483 737800.

Free entry, entrance to temporary exhibitions only with a Day Pass. Lightbox Members and under 18s visit free.

Image: Dora Carrington, Iris Tree on a Horse, c.1920s © The Estate of Dora Carrington