by Prudence Stevenson, et al. Four Corners Books, February 2017. 184 p. ill. ISBN 9781909829077 (pbk), $39.95.
Reviewed September 2017
Feminist art continues to be an important means by which women’s rights are represented in a volatile political landscape. See Red Women’s Workshop: Feminist Posters 1974-1990 provides a historical overview of a feminist screen printing group to inspire and inform readers on one art groups’ processes, challenges, and motivations to create images representing women in a new way.
Feminist historian and writer, Sheila Rowbotham provides a thorough and descriptive forward, placing the work of See Red Women’s Workshop, founded in London in 1974, into a political and social context. Throughout the book, members of See Red reveal their history and provide context for each poster. They discuss their screen printing processes, provide reproductions of all posters and calendars created by members, describe the context in which each poster was created, and talk about the challenges they faced with developing work spaces and overcoming adversity. The posters and calendars are reproduced in high resolution and full color, along with copies of plans for some of the posters, photographs of the members in their work spaces, and copies of early meeting minutes and mission statements.
The work of the See Red Women’s Workshop is highly relevant today. They confront traditional women’s roles and patriarchal society by representing negative, stereotypical, sexist images of women along with positive, refreshing images of women to promote self-determination, intersectional solidarity, and liberation from restrictive roles. They also provide guidance to anyone wanting to start a creative, social practice inspired arts group by thoughtfully sharing with honesty and sincerity the obstacles and struggles they came across throughout their history.
The book ends with a list of See Red members, some of whom offer their reflections on their memories of being in the group. There is a thematic index and index of poster titles, but no bibliography, since the book contains first person accounts of the group. The structure of the book is durable with sewn signatures of high quality glossy paper that are glued together in a perfect binding.
The book meets the needs of a variety of interest groups and would nicely complement a collection that includes books on feminist art, social practice, collaborative art, or screen printing. It is recommended for any art library, since it covers printing techniques, historical content, and inspiration for readers.