Current & past projects
During 2011-2013 I was doing an MA at the Royal College of Art, continuing my interest in performance related work. My work has built on previous research and focuses on the relationship between the performer and the viewer. Working primarily in print, I use photography, digital print, screenprinting, video and sound to create installation based pieces.
I was one of six shortlisted students from the RCA put forward for the Red Mansion Award 2013 and was also chosen to be part of the exhibition Denkmaschinen (Thought Machines) at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in November 2013 along with artists from Budapest, Bratislava, Leipzig and Vienna.
thoughtmachines poster (opens in browser window)
Before I started my MA I had been working on a project based around the theme of female magicians. This made use of rarely seen archive material that is not generally available to the public, in the form of photographs and ephemera from archives of magic history. Capturing the allure and mystery as well as the glamour and showmanship that runs through the history of magic, this body of work celebrates some of the amazing women who have contributed to the art. This project is partly informed by my ongoing research into the history of female magicians.
I have also been working on a book on the subject since 2008. My aim is to explore the experience and history of women in the areas of performing arts that include magic, circus & sideshow, parlour performance and a strictly limited variety of other unusual acts. Given that relatively few women have made it into any existing books on the history of the conjuring arts, I am also interested in what brings a woman to choose magic as a career, and what determines her success thereafter.
I have been extremely lucky so far in being able to have direct contact with some very well respected magic historians and in having access to the Magic Circle archives, and I am very grateful for their help in this project.
‘A SAGE OF THE STAGE, NOT A BEAST IN A CAGE’
Amongst other projects undertaken in the past few years is a series of screenprints based around the theme of ‘learned’ animals… So called ‘Learned Animals’, which ranged from pigs and dogs to geese and sparrows, trod the boards from the sixteenth century onwards, reaching the height of their popularity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when even such luminaries as Samuel Johnson were moved to pass comment on them.
The surviving playbills, reviews, posters, songs and books that relate their history form the backbone of this series of screenprints. The intended aim is to convey the playfulness and eagerness with which such entertainments were both presented and received in their time, and to celebrate a unique piece of theatrical history.
My research for this body of work took place from October 2006 to May 2007 through various books and original source material in the British Library. Preparation of the collected materials into collages to form the basis of the screenprints took place between May and December 2007. Printmaking began in March 2008.
The series consists of 15 screenprints, printed on Somerset Satin White 250gsm 56x76cm paper in editions of 20.
This project owes much to the British Library,Edwin A. Dawes and Ricky Jay for their kind permission to use images belonging to them.
The exhibition A Sage of the Stage, not a Beast in a Cage toured in 2009 & 2010. The first showing was at the Long Gallery in the Tron Theatre in Glasgow from 3rd August to 5th September 2009. From there it went to Inverness and toured the Highlands with the exhibition Now You See It organised by Highland Council until February 2010. It then went on display for the month of May 2010 at artsdepot in London, and at Edinburgh Printmakers in June 2010. Selected pieces from the series have also been included in various group exhibitions and special events including its first ever outing at The Magic Circle in London for Collectors Day in May 2009, the Magic Trail at the West Port Book Festival where I also gave an artists talk on the subject matter of the series, the Cut-Click exhibition at the Abbey Walk Gallery in Grimsby during June and July 2009, and the group show Past in Present at the Art Works Galleries in Newcastle during September and October 2009. The work continued to be selected for various group exhibitions in 2011.