We were delighted to receive a set of chapbooks from Desdemona McCannon, produced as part of her 'Women In Print' project.
Each celebrates the work of a woman who has inspired the designer of these risograph printed publications.
The set we have features Enid Mark (by Desdemona McCannon), Sheila Robinson (by Chloe Cheese), Pearl Binder (by Alice Pattullo), Barbara Jones (by Rosemary Shirley), Peggy Angus (Carolyn Trant) and Olive Cook (by Lotte Beatrix).
We asked Desdemona to tell us more about the project...
"Over the last few years I have started a collection of books by 20thc women designers I admire - people like Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Pearl Binder, Peggy Angus, Lettice Sandford, Dorothy Hartley - who alongside being 'jobbing artists' also wrote (and illustrated) books about folk culture, craft skills and 'popular' art'. Initially I was interested in the ways their research and writing was folded back into their creative practice, but as the collection grew, I became more and more fascinated by the idea of 'print culture'- the ways that publishers and art directors, printers and booksellers as well as authors and artists are entangled in a huge web of connections. I became hooked on the idea that, as Elisabeth Eisenstein says, print itself can be 'an agent of change'.
The main catalyst for setting up Women in Print was seeing a photo in a book, I forget which one, of Tirzah Ravilious on a step ladder with a paintbrush in her hand, in the process of putting paint on a wall, with Eric Ravilious standing by looking down, and the caption underneath saying 'Eric Ravilious painting a mural'. I realised that there was a silence around these women in the way histories were being told, a huge blind spot when it came to celebrating their achievements.
So the point of the Women in Print network is to focus attention on women who deserve to be better known, and their contribution to 'print culture'- as writers, academics, artists, art directors, publishers, journalists, printmakers and illustrators. This happens through an ad hoc series of events, enjoyable study days with speakers and discussions. Alongside this there is a growing set of tribute chapbooks. Anyone can contribute to the series. If they know of a woman they would like to celebrate, I send them the template and they send the (two colour) artwork and text back. I print them up on the risograph machine at Manchester School of Art with the help of students at the college, and we sell them and give them out at the Women in Print events, in the spirit of radical pamphleteers! Lots of really interesting artists, writers and academics have contributed to the series already... Alice Patullo did a beautiful one for Pearl Binder, and Carolyn Trant made one about Peggy Angus who she knew well. Chloe Cheese made one about her mother Sheila Robinson too. I would love for there to be a whole shelf of them one day.
Over the last 18 months there have been three fascinating days of talks about the different ways that women contributed to print culture in the 20thc, the first at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, the second at MMU Special Collections in Manchester, and the third at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne to accompany the Peggy Angus exhibition there. Speakers have ranged from Professors to recent graduates, researchers into design history and daughters of the designers themselves. The days attract a mixed audience too, which has been wonderful. Artists, academics, people interested in craft, ex librarians, collectors, and the odd husband quietly trying to sleep in the corner. There have been biographical talks about individual women- people like Peggy Angus and Pearl Binder, Susan Clough Ellis and Sheila Robinson, but also fascinating insights into publishing and visual culture of the period, for example Natalie Kay Thatcher recently gave a blinding talk about the Perry Colour Books at the Towner event.
There are more Women in Print days coming up- one in Boscastle next April looking at 'witchcraft in the popular press 1920- 1990' - inspired by a visit to the wonderful library at the museum of witchcraft there. Several people have already offered to give talks about Doreen Valiente, Ruth Manning Sanders, Margaret Murray and Ithell Colqhoun. The call for papers is still open, with further information available online, and so I'm looking forward to seeing what comes in.
It's really heartening that Chloe Cheese has recently written a book about her mother's work, and that Ann Ullman is writing about her mother Tirzah Ravilous too... there are some other projects in a similar vein in the pipeline too. It feels like an exciting time, a chance to have another go at writing the history of the period, and points to the continued potency of print in shaping the cultural landscape. What I find most most enjoyable is the enthusiasm and generosity of all the people involved- that a shared love of print has enabled these connections too."
Desdemona McCannon was born in Liverpool and studied English Literature at Bristol University before going on to train as an illustrator in Liverpool and Brighton. She is interested in investigating popular and vernacular art forms through organising events, curating exhibitions, writing articles, editing the Journal of Illustration and making work. She is currently a senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Find out more
Posted by Angie Lewin on December 9th, 2014
So it's been great to read of artist David Cass' time spent working in this unique landscape.
We're great fans of David's work. I remember being particularly impressed by his degree show at Edinburgh College of Art from where he graduated in 2010, receiving the Royal Scottish Academy’s John Kinross Scholarship to Florence.
As Guy Peploe of The Scottish Gallery explains...
“David Cass has an innate understanding of matière; a sensitivity to material, it’s texture, tone, pigment, weight and beyond this its context, history and emotional resonance. He works with found objects and by an act of appropriation and minimal intervention – perhaps merely turning the front of a drawer through ninety degrees – he creates works of art with quiet authority."
A large part of the work David is creating during his time at Cortijada Los Gázquez will be exhibited in an upcoming show, during the summer of 2015, with The Scottish Gallery. His new works are taking his exploration of water (and the sea), a step further - these new works on paper (informed by his recent photographic and film works) illustrate both real and imagined scenes of flooding, inundation and destruction. His landscape exploration has developed, and he's taking time to learn new methods of response - film, photography, writing and sound.
You can view more of David's work over at his website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on November 3rd, 2014
We recently made an overnight stop in Newcastle upon Tyne - to see Brita Granström’s paintings at the University Gallery.
On the ground floor are her lively illustrations for The Beatles - a book on which she has collaborated with her husband Mick Manning.
Upstairs is an extensive exhibition of Brita's bold paintings - often the result of working in the great outdoors, whatever the weather.
Many of the paintings depict her native Sweden where she includes family and friends in the landscape - fishing, swimming, hanging washing to dry. Others include black hollyhocks, cow parsley or the orange stems of pollarded willows and views to calm interiors.
The exhibition runs until 31st October 2014 at University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST.
All of the works being exhibited can be viewed in a PDF file via the gallery's website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on October 26th, 2014
Just published by Merrell is Jonny Hannah's wonderful 'Greetings from Darktown - An Illustrator's Miscellany', the first book devoted to the work of this popular illustrator, printmaker and painter.
Born and bred in Scotland, Jonny Hannah now lives by the sea in Southampton, but he also resides in Darktown – a mysterious coastal town, not found on any map, peopled by pin-up girls, jazz artists and tattooed sailors. Darktown is home to the Unquiet Grave junk emporium; the Mermaid Café, where folk legend Woody Guthrie still plays each week; McVouty’s vintage clothes shop; and a pier with a condemned helter skelter. Joining Hannah on his trip to downtown Darktown are the writers Philip Hoare and Peter Chrisp, who explore the eclectic influences on Hannah’s work, and Sheena Calvert, who introduces a special typographic catalogue of hand-drawn lettering. As he tours Darktown, Hannah presents his prints and paintings in thematic chapters reflecting his passions, and bids farewell to his alter ego, Rocket Man, who inhabits the darkest corners of pop culture.
In April 2015 we'll be hosting an exhibition of Jonny's work in Edinburgh which will incorporate prints, paintings, music and spoken word. Sign up for our gallery newsletter for details.
And later in 2014 we'll be launching Jonny's first wallpaper for St Jude's, the follow up to his fabric The Captain's Pattern.
Posted by Simon Lewin on October 4th, 2014
Classical music label Delphian recently won Gramophone magazine's Label of the Year 2014 award.
Specialist online store Presto explains...
"A Robert Mapplethorpe photograph and the playing style of Busoni’s favourite clarinettist - just two of the inspirations behind these six recent British works for saxophone and piano, which are linked by the composers’ relationship to popular music, whether oblique, overt, or antagonistic.
From the pounding muscularity of Graham Fitkin to the blues-drenched melancholy of Mark-Anthony Turnage, Edinburgh duo Sue McKenzie and Ingrid Sawers bring stylistic authority and idiomatic flair to everything they play on this, their debut recording.
Sue McKenzie is a past winner of the British Clarinet and Saxophone Society Young Performers Competition. As one of Scotland's leading contemporary saxophonists she has given UK and Scottish premieres of many new works for saxophone, including those from Gavin Bryars, Graham Fitkin and Amy Quate. Susan is also the leader of the Scottish Saxophone Ensemble and was an Assistant Director of the World Saxophone Congress in 2012.
Ingrid Sawers is in demand as one of Scotland's finest accompanists and chamber musicians, performing in venues including the Usher Hall, Glamis Castle and Scone Palace, as well as widely throughout the UK and abroad."
Posted by Simon Lewin on September 21st, 2014
We're looking forward to seeing Brita Granström's latest exhibition in Newcastle which runs until 31st October 2014.
For this exhibition, The Night Swimmer, Brita draws upon her Swedish roots to blur the boundary between observation and imagination, reality and dream. In a narrative sequence that opens with playful domestic studies and bedroom interiors she leads us at dusk, by way of farmyard and orchard, to a lake where women struggle with storm-blown washing, and a dark jetty awaits the night swimmer.
Brita’s paintings leave room for interpretation and imagination, allowing us to make up our own Midsummer night’s dream; however serene or haunting.
The exhibition runs until 31st October 2014 at University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST. Visit their website for further details.
Brita Granström and Mick Manning also collaborated on a contribution to our fundraising journal Random Spectacular No. 2.
Posted by Simon Lewin on September 21st, 2014
From 4th-14th July 2014 Ed Kluz is exhibiting a series of new works with our friends at Pentreath & Hall, shown alongside a selection of original works and prints by Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden.
Ed is fascinated by the objects of our cultural heritage. He seeks out the eccentric, the lost and the overlooked. Follies, curiosities, vanished buildings and folklore inspire artworks which explore themes of renewal and reinvention.
Amongst the new works being exhibited are (from top to bottom below) The Rushton Triangular Lodge (scraperboard - £975), Blickling Hall (linocut - unframed £225 - edition of 18), King Henry's Hunting Lodge, Dogmersfield Park, Hampshire (scraperboard - £875), Kew Palace (scraperboard - £745).
From 4th to 14th July at Pentreath & Hall, 17 Rugby Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3QT. Telephone 020 7430 2526. Open 11am–6pm Mon–Sat.
Posted by Simon Lewin on July 3rd, 2014
Our friends Jennings Fine Art are hosting an exhibition of British Art produced between 1914 and 1939 at The Art Workers Guild in Bloomsbury from Monday 16th until Saturday 21st June 2014.
The exhibition features work by a number of artists including Eric Ravilious, A S Hartrick, Paul Nash and William Larkins.
The exhibition also features a newly editioned linocut print by Marthe Armitage, commissioned for the exhibition. 'Tiger Moth' was originally cut as a wallpaper repeat but is available from the exhibition in an edition of 25 copies.
Aftermath - British Art 1914-1939 runs from Monday 16th June to Saturday 21st June 2014 at The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT. Open 10am until 4pm.
Further details are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
William Larkins - Work or Roadmen - etching, 1925
Paul Nash - The Sluice - lithograph, 1920
A.S. Hartrick - On Munitions: Dangerous Work (Packing TNT) - lithograph, 1917
Marthe Armitage - Tiger Moth - linocut, 2014
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 15th, 2014
This August Hanna Tuulikki's heartfelt re-weaving of Gaelic song will be performed live on the Isle of Canna.
Away with the Birds will be performed by a female vocal ensemble in the beautiful harbour of the Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide.
Hanna Tuulikki is a Glasgow-based artist and composer. Away with the Birds is her most ambitious work to date. Selecting Gaelic song from historical archives, she has sought out extracts and fragments which imitate birdsong and rewoven them into an extraordinary soundscape. Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 9th, 2014
Painter Tom Mabon has an exhibition of new work entitled Common Ground opening on 7th June 2014 at the Roger Billcliffe Gallery in Glasgow.
Born in Kirkcaldy, Fife and trained at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, Tom has lived on the Black Isle since 1985. His paintings document the many seasons he has witnessed. He's won many awards since graduating including the Royal Glasgow Institute Armour Award in 2012 and a major prize at the 7th Cleveland International Drawing Biennale in 1985.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 6th, 2014