By Rebecca Fortnum
During this illuminating number of new interviews, the most vital ladies artists practicing in Britain at the present time speak about their paintings, their impacts and their relationships, occasionally ambivalent, with the artwork old canon. Enlightening and often unique, the interviews, with artists spanning diversified generations and dealing in media as varied as functionality paintings, portray, sculpture, video and set up, supply attention-grabbing first-hand insights into either the artists' lives and the artistic procedure. Fortnum speaks to: Tacita Dean, Tanya Kovats, Christine Borland, Jane Harris, Vanessa Jackson, Tracey Emin, Maria Lalic, Hayley Newman, Sonia Boyce, Emma Kay, Gillian Ayres, Lucy Gunning, Claire Barclay, Maria Chevska, Anya Gallacio, Jemima Stehli, Runa Islam and Paula Rego.
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Additional info for Contemporary British Women Artists: In Their Own Words
RF You’re occupied with the problem in front of you? GA You are trying to get somewhere and do something. You can call that a problem but it’s many things. You can call it a struggle or unpleasant. You could say that it’s wonderful that you can do what you want to. Whatever angle one sees it from, you certainly don’t want to keep doing the same thing, you’re always pushing something somewhere. RF Has your attitude to painting changed over the years? GA There are a few people that I’ve always liked.
It should be acknowledged that you learn through doing. When a student makes a performance for the first time and it’s absolutely fantastic, they often then make another one and it’s absolutely shite. The not knowing is what’s so fascinating, them not knowing what they’re dealing with, what they’re handling, how they’re doing it. It pushes them forward and makes a fantastic open-ended moment. But how do you sustain that? It’s very complicated. RF ‘Not knowing’ can create audience discomfort and embarrassment.
JH Yes, certainly – they do need to be seductive. RF You’ve talked in interviews about your work’s relationship to the visual world. Why does your work need to have a relationship to what you see? JH I think it goes back to these opposing forces that are within me and therefore within the work and that goes right back to the early student work. I’ve always had these two desires. One is the abstract, formal or geometric and the other is work from observation. I like work that’s keenly observed and I wanted to marry those two interests for myself.
Contemporary British Women Artists: In Their Own Words by Rebecca Fortnum