Su RICHARDSON UK, b. 1947

Birmingham-based artist Su RICHARDSON is a pioneer of British Feminist Art and notable contributor to two of the most important art groups of the 1970s - the mail art project 'Feministo' and the feminist art collective 'Fenix.' Known for her celebration, exploitation and subversion of traditional femininine skills such as crocheting, Richardson revalidated craft as a fine art form and took feminist art of the '70s in different directions - fitting her practice around motherhood, work and household tasks. Her humorously subversive aesthetic anticipated contemporary countercultures and movements that combined craft with street art, such as yarn bombing and guerilla knitting, and was a precursor to a younger generation of female British artists who combined visual puns with domestic objects, including perhaps most notably Sarah Lucas in her seminal works Self Portrait with Fried Egg (1996) or Pauline Bunny (1997). 

 

After studying graphic design, Richardson moved to Birmingham as a secondary school art teacher in the 1970s, when she met Monica Ross and Phil Goodall, who together formed the Birmingham Women's Art Group. With the group, Richardson was instrumental in co-organising the Postal Art Event that took place across Britain in the mid-1970s, which aimed to connect women in different cities across the country through exchange of artworks in the post. The collective initiative evolved into the ground-breaking project 'Feministo' and a series of exhibitions and installations around the UK, including the acclaimed presentation 'Portrait of the Artist as Housewife' at the ICA, London in 1977.  Richardson's work is now featured in prominent private collections and has appeared in various group exhibitions since the 1980s, including 'Issues' curated by Lucy Lippard at ICA, London (1980); 'Alternative Images of Men' at Bakehouse, London (1980); 'Women and Textiles' at Battersea Arts Centre (1983). Richardson began actively exhibiting again in the 2010s after taking a break in her art career to raise her son and worked as an art and design teacher, arts administrator, and more recently, as a client advisor and receptionist in the health sector -- all the while continuing to create within the confines of her home and also performing in a band. Since then, her work has featured in exhibitions at Constance Howard Gallery, London (2012); Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2015); 'Of other spaces: Where does gesture become Event?' Cooper Gallery, University of Dundee (2016); Raven Row, London (2017);  'Women Power Protest,' at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (2018); 'Home Strike,' l'étrangère, London (2018); 'This Life is so Everyday: The Home in British Art 1950-1980' at Graves Gallery, Sheffield (2019); and Richard Saltoun Gallery (online, 2020).