THE North-East's premier art venue has unveiled the first solo exhibition by Italian artist Carol Rama.

The exhibition at the Baltic, in Gateshead, features works by the artist from 1936 to 2003.

Ms Rama, 86, represents the first of a generation of artists to explore female identity, making explicit reference to the body and female sexuality.

With more than 100 works, the exhibition starts with the raw and violently erotic autobiographical watercolours created from 1936 to 1940, during the mental illness of the artist's mother, and also features the watercolours of the 1940s - in which female nudes are depicted tied to hospital beds, with limbs amputated - through to her abstract works of the 1950.

In the 1960s, her interest in human bodies and organic materials was explored through the use of objects, such as animal claws, corks, skins and tyres, before returning to figures.

The exhibition will be at the Baltic until April 24.

Published: 25/01/2005