PROJECTS: PAST AND PRESENT

Some of the works featured on this page are available to purchase from the artist. Should you be interested, please contact Liz to find out which pieces are available and further details.

Reading in the Margins

HolyBrook Gallery, Reading Central Library, November 2018


An exhibition of work by Liz and fellow RGA artist Martina Hildebrandt comprising linocuts, mixed-media, painting and collages based around the theme of the margins of the town of Reading in every sense of the word.


Most of Liz’s pieces in this show included a series of works inspired by her visit to Reading Prison when it was open to the public in 2016. She focussed on the traces of those that had once been incarcerated there – not only the prison’s most famous inmate, Oscar Wilde, but other Victorian prisoners as well as more recent prisoners. This body of work subsequently became known as ‘The prison pictures’.


Liz also showed a new piece, ‘Maria in the shadows’, a portrait of local Big Issue seller, Maria, seeking shade under an umbrella while she sits outside all day.


For a review of the exhibition, click here.

New Relics for Reading

Personal, enigmatic and bizarre mementos of Reading (2018 and 2019)

Reading Minster and Reading Museum


A group of Reading artists was invited to create new relics with Reading themes to accompany the Reading Between the Lines (now Rabble Theatre) production of a new play, Henry II which was staged in Reading Minster. The exhibition transferred to Reading Museum during Spring 2019.


Thousands of pilgrims used to visit Reading Abbey. When Henry VIII closed Reading Abbey under his programme of the dissolution of the monasteries the many relics associated with the Abbey were scattered.


The most famous relic in Reading Abbey was the (alleged) hand of the apostle, St James which is thought to have been given to the Abbey in 1133 by the Empress Matilda. With this in mind, Liz decided to represent a hand with the blessing gesture. As relics were venerated by pilgrims it seemed appropriate to link the hand with the modern pilgrimage to the Reading Festival, hence the wristband worn by all attendees of the world-famous rock festival. The title of the work is ‘Blessing the Reading Festival’.


See:

www.rgspaces.org.uk/activity/new-relics-for-reading

www.relics.rgspaces.org.uk

In Reading Town by Reading Gaol 2019

The Turbine House

Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock, Reading

www.inreadinggaol.uk/wp


Liz was one of twenty Reading artists who were invited to submit one piece of work that was inspired by The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde’s famous poem that he wrote in 1897 after his incarceration in the prison as a result of his conviction for gross indecency. The poem recalls the execution of a murderer that took place while Wilde was in the prison and highlights the brutalism of the Victorian prison system.


Liz was struck by the number of references to colour in the poem and decided to use them as the basis for a work that alluded metaphorically to Wilde’s text. The title of the work is ‘The grey cock crew, the red cock crew’. Other lines of the poem that were referred to in the work were:

… that little tent of blue which prisoners call the sky
With yawning mouth the yellow hole gaped for a living thing
         (the mouth here being a reference to the pit of lime into which executed prisoners were thrown)
The Warders … saw, with eyes of awe,
   Grey figures on the floor.

Liz used a mixed-media technique combining painting, collage and print. The print was done by a carved rubber stamp as a little homage to the late Peter Hay, Reading artist who used rubber stamps for his illustrations of the Two Rivers Press 2011 edition that Liz used as her reference for this work.


Alongside the main work, Liz also produced a series of one-off prints that were inspired by the lines of the poem mentioned above as well as two prints that alluded to the following lines:

The Warders … wondered why men knelt to pray
   Who never prayed before.

The CIRDIC sketches

For the last few years, Liz has been volunteering as the art facilitator at CIRDIC, the local drop-in centre for homeless and vulnerable people of the area. She sets up a table with basic art materials for clients to enjoy a variety of art activities including painting, simple printmaking, clay modelling, creative sewing etc. The sessions are not tutored but Liz is there to encourage and facilitate. While she is waiting for clients to engage in the art, she often takes the opportunity to do some quick observational drawings of the people around her. This is a selection of that work. Media is pen, pencil or watercolour.

Caversham Arts Trail (CAT)

www.cavershamartstrail.co.uk


CAT is a local arts trail based in Caversham (North Reading) which was set up in 2010. Liz has taken part most years since then and had the role of publicity officer for several years. During the Trail Caversham artists open their studios to members of the public over two weekends in May. Liz has shared her venue with many other artists, designers and craftsmen over the years and most recently (in 2019) with Peter Quarmby (designer and maker of Windsor chairs), Jules Hogan (knitwear designer), Janina Maher (book-binder) and Marc Juon (jewellery designer and maker).


It is very much a community-based event allowing visitors to meet the artists, learn about how they make their art and buy work directly from the artist. Each year CAT artists also support a local charity by selling refreshments, plants etc.


In 2019 CAT was awarded Visual Arts Event of the Year under the Reading Cultural Awards scheme www.readingplaceofculture.org/awards-2019

Reading Guild of Artists (RGA)

www.rga-artists.org.uk


Liz is a longstanding exhibiting member of the Guild. She takes part in most exhibitions put on by the Guild and is currently on the exhibitions team. The exhibitions usually take place in Reading Museum and Art Gallery, Henley Old Fire Station Gallery and the University of Reading.


The most recent exhibition was held at Henley Old Fire Station Gallery in March 2020, immediately before the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. This exhibition was given a theme to celebrate local resident, George Harrison, who lived at Prior Park in Henley ‘Here comes the sun – Harrison in Henley’.


For her main submission in this exhibition, Liz presented a mixed-media work (painting, print and collage) entitled ‘Scan not a friend with a microscopic glass’. It is a quotation by Sir Frank Crisp, Victorian lawyer and microscopist, who built Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames which became George Harrison’s home in the latter part of his life. George saw the quotation inscribed on a wall of the garden of Friar Park and used it (slightly adapted) for the lyrics of his song ‘The answer’s at the end’ which features on the 1975 album ‘Extra Texture (Read All About It)’.


George loved the garden (and gardening) at Friar Park and this is the inspiration for the work which, together in its meanderings and layering also attempts to reflect his interest in spiritual matters. His use of the quotation highlighting the importance of tolerance and acceptance of difference is as pertinent now as it was then and was the starting point of this work.


The whole quote reads:

Scan not a friend with a microscopic glass
   You know his faults
   Now let his foibles pass
   Life is one long enigma, true, my friend
   So read on, read on, the answer’s at the end

Art under lockdown (COVID-19)

Liz counted her lockdown from 18 March 2020.


Initially she found it difficult to settle to anything creative and like many people, much of her energy was used in trying to find alternative ways to cope with the new normal.


However as lockdown went on, Liz felt more of a creative urge. There were no ‘grand projects’ but it would be a more spontaneous creative activity. This included everything from painting a watercolour of the view from her house, ‘automatic’ drawings in her sketchbook, Gelli-plate printing, making posters and cards, sketching with oil pastels and digital art.


Liz decided to sell her handmade cards for Launchpad Reading, the local homelessness prevention charity, as it is a cause that Liz supports having worked with the homeless in Reading. She was featured In Launchpad’s July issue of their volunteers newsletter, found here.


Liz was also invited to feature as artist of the month in July for the online gallery ‘Art under quarantine’ under Woodley Library’s ‘Art in the Library’ scheme.