I am currently involved in two very different exhibitions.
The first is a wonderful book art exhibition organised by the University of Kent and supported by the Wellcome Trust at The Beaney Gallery, part of Canterbury Museums. Its run has been extended until the end of September and if you are in the area and would like to visit here are the details
It is particularly special for me as it features 15 pieces from the artist Martha Hall on loan from the University of New England. Hall’s books document her experiences with breast cancer and interactions with the medical community from 1998 until her death in 2003. I discovered her work during my first year at Sheffield Hallam University and I think I must have quoted her in every one of my essays and my dissertation. Even across an ocean and never having seen her work she spoke to me, to now have a work of mine in the same room as hers is something I would never have imagined. I loved her work so much I searched out and bought a copy of her catalogue ‘Holding in, Holding on’, the quote below is from the introduction
The process of making books has been a powerful part of my healing…
They are a way to share my emotions with my family…
They are a way to educate others about cancer…
They are a way I can have a voice in the world.
They are about making choices.
They are about living.
My book in the exhibition is from my BA degree show, it was a follow on piece from my live art, it is a simple white book containing a gold point grid, at each intersection is a tiny blue dot reminiscent of the tattoos used to mark out the radiotherapy grid on my body. The book contains 45704 dots, one for each person diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, the year I was diagnosed. The gold point grid is made from dragging a fine 9ct gold wire across a medium to deposit a line of gold on the paper, it is a pale grey that will darken over time, at the moment it looks a little like ordinary graphite pencil, like life its preciousness is easily overlooked.
Some reactions to the exhibition
And the last word on this exhibition goes to Martha
I am carrying out half of the conversation – from time to time somebody would carry on another piece of the conversation.
The second exhibition I’m involved in is at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens gallery Southampton until the end of July and is a regional show for the UK Coloured Pencil Society. I am just a beginner with coloured pencils so I’m always surprised when I am accepted, using them is like a little holiday, I use a very rough paper which encourages a much looser style to my graphite work and its very much just about enjoying the moment.