By Rebecca Fortnum
During this illuminating selection of new interviews, the most vital ladies artists training in Britain at the present time discuss their paintings, their affects and their relationships, occasionally ambivalent, with the paintings ancient canon. Enlightening and regularly exciting, the interviews, with artists spanning assorted generations and dealing in media as various as functionality paintings, portray, sculpture, video and deploy, provide interesting first-hand insights into either the artists' lives and the inventive method. 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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Extra info for Contemporary British Women Artists: In Their Own Words
I don’t know whether one should admit this. ’. RF Is there work that you’ve done in the past that you feel closer to now? 48 2721 CC of Art. In Own Words. 19/9/06 2:20 pm Page 49 GILLIAN AYRES GA Funnily enough, the dealers came a fortnight ago and I got out those late fifties paintings, about five of them, and they are big paintings. There weren’t many people working like that in this country then. I quite like them when I look back at them. With that MOMART fire I thought that one had been burnt and I was very glad that it hadn’t.
In Own Words. 19/9/06 2:19 pm Page 25 HAYLEY NEWMAN Hayley Newman works across the media of performance, video, text, photography and sound. Her events are characterised by their humour and, often, absurdity; for example Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (a silent choral work for a smoking choir) . Her work explores performativity and issues surrounding mediated experience. RF How did you start making performances, how did you know you wanted to do it and how did you know you could do it? HN At school I had a Saturday scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music in London where I studied singing – I always enjoyed the very practical aspects of learning to sing but I hated the theory side, until I discovered John Cage when I was 16.
The History Paintings could all be dated 1996 because that’s when the idea was generated. Or they could be dated at the point at which they are actually shown publicly because that’s when they become another kind of reality. RF You’ve mentioned Agnes Martin, Eva Hesse, Ryman and Andre and about taking up the baton in terms of landscape. Do you feel that your work is part of a larger enquiry, that you have a conversation going with other artists? ML Definitely. I think it would be very difficult to work without that reference.