DRAWN TO PAPER
To coincide with the launch of a new book, ‘Ghislaine Howard: Drawn to Paper’ published by Manchester Metropolitan University in association with Art Decor Gallery, an exhibition of all her works from the book will be showcased at the Whalley gallery
Ghislaine Howard is a painter of national reputation, her work hangs in many private and public collections including the Royal Collection, the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery.
In 2008, she was named Woman of the Year for her contribution to art and society and her 1993 exhibition, ‘A Shared Experience’ at the Manchester Art Gallery concerning pregnancy and childbirth was recognised as a milestone in the representation of women’s lives.
Her 365 series of works have been in various public galleries, most recently in 2014 in the Dutch Room at Manchester Art Gallery, and museums including the Imperial War Museum North and her Stations of the Cross series, created in association with Amnesty International, continues to tour many of England’s cathedrals. In 2013, she was the only living artist to be represented in the British Museum’s ground breaking exhibition, ‘Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind’, where her art hung in the company of Picasso, Matisse and Henry Moore.
However, it is only relatively recently that Ghislaine has returned to the world of the private gallery having spent the last decade or so concentrating on major public works.
Says Chris McCabe who runs the Art Decor Gallery with his wife Julie: “We are really excited about this exhibition in particular as it gives our art appreciators and collectors a great opportunity to acquire these works. They have been carefully selected to feature in this exhibition and publication to showcase Ghislaine’s passionate connectivity with drawing – the very centre of her art. I am sure this book will be an invaluable resource for anyone studying the subject.
“In the two years that we have had the opportunity to work with Ghislaine, we have sold more of her work than any other artist in the same time period and customers have bought because they have been able to form some kind of connection with it instantly before, in many cases, they know who the artist is. This connection is what Ghislaine’s work is all about. How people respond to her work is important to Ghislaine. She wants people to feel.”
Although Ghislaine’s subject matter is varied her theme is constant. Whether set within the world of theatre, hospital, prison or home there is a common link throughout. Her work invites the viewer to contemplate what it is to be human. To recognise that the basic elements of human life are shared. Suffering, injustice, isolation, forgiveness and reconciliation as well as love, charity, hope and compassion are all to be explored. Her art goes to places where human emotions are at their most intense. It operates on a timeless plane.
In essence, Ghislaine’s work encourages the eye to listen before it looks.
“Though many drawings can be studies for paintings drawings are works in their own right,” Ghislaine explains. The power of a drawing can sometimes be lost in colour. This is why I chose to work in monochrome for my Stations of the Cross series. Black and white can give a greater emotional impact, pack a greater punch, nothing distracts from the immediacy of the image. Intense feelings are not signalled by excess but by stark reductionism.
“If the viewer can come away having recognised something through my work, that we are all human and therefore vulnerable, then it is all worthwhile.”
The exhibition of Ghislaine Howard’s work will be held at Art Decor Gallery, Whalley, from 16th June until 8th July 2017
Art Decor Gallery
6 The Arches, Whalley BB7 9SG