Alison Watt press release for exhibition at Abbot Hall

24/08/2018 PRESS RELEASE: Alison Watt at Abbot Hall

24 August 2018

Alison Watt at Abbot Hall

One of Britain’s leading painters brings exhibition to Cumbria

Alison Watt will show major new paintings during her first exhibition in Cumbria, at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal.

Alison Watt: A Shadow On The Blind runs from 12 October 2018 to 2 February 2019.

It will include major new paintings representing a significant new development in Watt's practice as well as a selection of key earlier works. Many works are being exhibited for the first time.

Watt is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading painters. Her exquisitely painted canvasses negotiate a position close to abstraction yet are firmly rooted in the artist’s studies of drapery, light, human form and Old Master paintings and sculpture. Through absence, her work suggests a powerful human presence.

Alison Watt was born in Greenock in 1965 and studied at Glasgow School of Art. Her work first came to public attention in 1987 when she won the National Portrait Gallery’s coveted annual award, and in the late 1980s and early 90s she became known for her paintings of figures, often female nudes.

In the late 1990s her focus shifted away from the figure and she began to explore the possibility of painting drapery as a surrogate for the human body. Watt’s residency as Associate Artist at The National Gallery culminated in the landmark solo exhibition Phantom in 2008, and she was awarded an OBE in the same year.

Watt’s work has been widely exhibited internationally and is held in many prestigious public and private collections including the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Uffizi in Florence and the new American Embassy in London.

More details about A Shadow On The Blind:

Helen Watson, Lakeland Arts, Director of Programming said: “Alison has exhibited widely in Scotland, London and internationally. We are delighted to welcome and introduce her to a north west audience. Her large canvases are exquisitely painted and executed.”

The exhibition is the finale of Lakeland Arts’ year-long celebration of women in British art and culture. Our venues have been marking a century since the Representation of the People Act 1918, which allowed some women to vote for the first time in Britain.

Visitors can get added insight into Watt and her work when she gives a talk on 23 October. More details and to book:


Notes to editors:

For further information contact Dickie Felton or

Image download: Press images of work in Alison Watt: A Shadow On The Blind can be downloaded here:

Alison Watt:

To see a full biography of Alison Watt’s career and work go to:

Lakeland Arts:

Lakeland Arts has a portfolio of galleries and museums in the Lake District. It opened Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, in 1962 and since then has built up an outstanding collection and a strong reputation for showing exhibitions of national and international artists of the highest quality.

Abbot Hall also houses the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in the former coach house and stables. The gallery and surrounding estate will undergo a major £7.1m redevelopment planned to start in 2020.

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House in Bowness-on-Windermere is architect MH Baillie Scott's greatest house and retains most of its original decorative features. It is a perfect setting for exhibitions of historical and contemporary craft.

Lakeland Arts is due to open Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories later this year. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, this will be a new world-class museum in a stunning setting on Windermere and will display an internationally important collection of boats which are all associated with lake Windermere.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is the major funder for the Museum. HLF grants are made possible by National Lottery players. The project is also supported by Regional Growth Fund and Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

  • Alison Watt, Helical (detail), 2017, oil on canvas. Courtesy the Artist and Parafin, London.’ Photography by John Mackenzie
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