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         National Federation of Artists Studio Providers     Foundation for Sport and the Arts       

Sometimes It's Hard To Be A Woman

Phil Sayers

"Sometimes it's hard to be a woman" sang Tammy Wynette with that characteristic sentimental sob in her voice. Artist Phil Sayers sings it differently, with this major exhibition of delicate fine art prints and big imposing photographs that trace his/her transgender journey over four decades.


Sayers' song is not a tragic lament, it's a confident and assured celebration of a significant personal transformation. The exhibition shows the gradual evolution of the artist’s practice from printmaker to performer for the camera, alongside the psychological progression towards a feminine persona.


Lithographs, screenprints and etchings from the 80s and 90s explore ideas about the family, nesting, birth and nurture. Then come explorations of gender identity and transformation with hints of an emerging inner/other self, leading to the dramatic revelation of the artist as ‘woman’.


In later works, Sayers becomes the subject of large photographic reconstructions of 19th century paintings (several by J.W.Waterhouse,1849-1917) that critique and disrupt traditional representations of women. By performing the female subjects, the artist brings new feminist interpretations to the originals.


More recent works made with a group of older women celebrate ageing and the mature body, to challenge conventional media representations of beauty.


neo:gallery23 in The Market Place shopping centre is a very appropriate location for this exhibition about the transformation and construction of the ‘self’. The retail experience of clothing and beauty products is, for many millions of shoppers, the primary focus for critical appraisal and construction of their own ‘self-image’.



10th February 2018 – 25th March 2018
Open Thursday to Sunday 11 am – 5 pm 

PRIVATE View Saturday 10th February 2 – 4pm 

The Market Place
Bolton BL1 2AN
United Kingdom

The venue is fully accessible

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