Emma Geliot's picture

Saatchi Gallery marks its 30th anniversary with its first all-women exhibition, presenting the work of 14 emerging female artists. Jessica Rayner toasts Champagne Life at Saatchi Gallery for its role in championing femininity.

Mequitta Ahuja Rhyme Sequence: Wiggle Waggle, Mequitta Ahuja, 2012. Oil, paper and acrylic on canvas, 213 x 203cm. Copyright Mequitta Ahuja. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London.

Champagne Life provides a rare opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a female artist in contemporary society. The exhibition marks Saatchi Gallery s 30th anniversary by furthering the gallery s commitment to supporting women in art and paying tribute to these talented individuals' work.

The exhibition s title is drawn from one of the showcased works by Julia Wachtel. The piece depicts an upside down image of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, alongside hand painted copies of a Minnie Mouse figurine. The incongruous pairing creates a tension that seeks to disrupt the all-consuming attraction of celebrity culture and the inescapable consumption of media.

Julia Wachtel_Champagne Life_EDG7005 Champagne Life, Julia Wachtel, 2014. Oil, lacquer ink and flashed on canvas, 5 panels, overall: 152 x 472cm. Copyright Julia Wachtel. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London.

The phrase 'Champagne Life' instils a sense of affluence and luxury, with champagne being seen as a cultural indicator of economic success. When applied to an exhibition that brings together 14 emerging female artists, the perceptions surrounding the glamourous nature of the art world are thrown into contrast with the reality of long hours spent working in the studio.

Featured artists include Julia Dault, who creates multi-layered, richly textured pieces that build a bold relationship with colour whilst incorporating materials such as pleather and silk in place of traditional canvas. Other artists showcased as part of Champagne Life include Marie Angeletti, Mequitta Ahuja, Alice Anderson, Jelena Bulajic, Mia Feuer, Virgile Ittah, Sigrid Holmwood, Maha Malluh, Suzanne McCelland, Seung Ah Paik, Stephanie Quayle and Soheila Sokhanvari.

Alice Anderson (Left) Bound, Alice Anderson, 2011. Bobbin made of wood and copper thread, 345 x 248 x 248cm.(Right) 181 Kilometers, Alice Anderson, 2015. Sculpture made after performances, copper thread, 200cm (diameter). Image: Steve White. Courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Saatchi gallery s aim to create aninnovative forum for contemporary art proves its dedication to providing a platform for the work of emergent female artists breaking into the industry. Many of these women, including Jenny Saville who is renowned for her canvases that spill over with folds of flesh, have progressed to become defining figures in contemporary art.

Champagne Life is not so bold as to offer an overarching vista of female artistic practice. Instead it plays a pivotal part in approaching the subject of gender equality in the work place. By confronting the issue of the glass ceiling, which is as much present in the art industry as in wider society, the exhibition showcases the arresting work of a group of evolving female artists and celebrates their ongoing contribution to the development of art today.

Soheila Sokhanvari Moje Sabz, Soheila Sokhanvari, 2011. Taxidermy, Fibreglass, Jesmonite blob, automobile paint, 170 x 230 x 140cm. Copyright Soheila Sokhanvari. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London.

Champagne Life runs from 13 January 6 March at the Saatchi Gallery. Admission is free.