Exhibition launch of British centenarian woman artist Katherine Fryer at RBSA Gallery

Celebrate the life of Birmingham based artist, Katherine Fryer, at RBSA Gallery in the Jewellery Quarter with a collection of works from her 90-year career plus supporting events and workshops.

Birmingham, West Midlands. 22/08/2019. For immediate release.

Life’s Journey: The Art of Katherine Mary Fryer (1910-2017)

The ongoing rediscovery and resurgence of mid-20th century British women artists sees an important retrospective exhibition of the works of Katherine Fryer. ‘Life’s Journey: The Art of Katherine Mary Fryer’ opens Sept 2nd at the RBSA Gallery in the Jewellery Quarter and will showcase over 50 paintings, prints and ephemera until Sept 21nd. Accessible events, tours and workshops will bring the exhibition to life for local communities in the West Midlands.

Kate Fryer contributed to the British art scene in a career spanning 90 years, many of those years she made Birmingham her home. She died aged 106 in 2017. Kate’s peers will give talks to celebrate her accomplished life at the private viewing on Sept 3rd 6-8pm with special guest speaker Helen Meller, British cultural historian and academic.

Kate was born in Leeds in 1910. She attended Leeds College of Art from 1926 – 1931 undertaking a rigorous training in the traditional methods of drawing, painting and printmaking. In the late 1930’s Kate secured a teaching post at Bath Academy of Art run by Clifford and Rosemary Ellis. Living in Bath, she came to know many of the major figures in British art from the previous generation; life was exciting, but Britain was plunged into war.

‘Fortunately, Kate was safe, but her printing and carvings tools were all destroyed. Of course, this was a disaster for all the artists in the school – not only had they lost their tools, they also did not have a place to work. The home of renowned artist Walter Sickert was opened up to provide a workspace for the artists, including Kate, who turned to painting in the absence of her tools.’ – Tony Yates

After losing her wood engraving tools in the Baedeker raids, she was determined to concentrate on painting. In 1948 Kate moved from Bath to fulfil a teaching post at Birmingham School of Art. Kate was elected a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) in 1956, later to become Professor of Painting and an honorary member. RBSA Professor of Art History, Brendan Flynn will lead a curator’s tour on Sept 18th at 6-8pm, providing behind-the-scenes insights into how he curated the exhibition.

‘You can’t teach painting unless you paint.’ – Kate Fryer

Inspired by Kate’s enthusiasm for first-hand experience, the RBSA will host a free drop-in workshop delivered by Kate’s friend and student Tony Yates. Held on Sept 7th from 11am-1pm and 2-4pm, this workshop will demonstrate how Kate produced her distinctive work.

‘When we met, Kate was already elderly, but her mind was sharp, and she was incredibly independent.’ – Tony Yates

To celebrate her fulfilled 107 years of life, the RBSA is live streaming a guided tour of the exhibition for the first time on Sept 4th between 1-2pm. The tour is in collaboration with West Midlands Museums Development as part of a Combatting Loneliness project. 

‘Life’s Journey: The Art of Katherine Mary Fryer’ (1907-2017) will be accompanied by a full colour catalogue available for purchase. 

More information can be found here:

Life’s Journey: The Art of Katherine Fryer

Painting in the style of Katherine Fryer Workshop

Live Stream Tour of ‘Life’s Journey’