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 

The Market Place
Bolton BL1 2AN
United Kingdom

The venue is fully accessible

neoResidency 2018





Application deadline: Noon 26th March 2018

£3,770 Part-funded 12-week residency at neo:Studios and University of Bolton


To apply, email us at neoresidency



neo: Proof Print Exhibition/Exchange 2018

proof Print 2018

: are very pleased to announce their forthcoming, international Proof Print Exhibition/Exchange 2018.


Submission deadline 15 April 2018


The exhibition intends to raise awareness of new trends and directions in contemporary printmaking, from the traditional to the digital, by showcasing excellence and innovation.

300 contemporary visual artists will be selected to take part in the exhibition, with a £15 hanging fee. 30 artists will be further selected for the ultimate Proof Print Exchange 2018.


The free online submission is open to all artists worldwide, over the age of 18. You are invited to submit a 30 x 30cm artist proof across the full range of printmaking techniques, which can be later made into an edition of 35.


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