‘ISOLATION noun: the process or fact of isolating or being isolated
living on your own is one thing but living in isolation is another. to look out of the window and imagine the world is still moving but you’ve stood still. BARE RED exposes fear, freedom of imagination, loneliness and hope from she who is looking out of her window’ - sue williams
BARE RED is a series of 3 chinese books painted by williams during the months of the covid19 lockdown. williams had the books custom made in hangzhou market by traditional art book-makers at 四宝草堂 the humble house of four treasures [the four treasures refer to the four materials used in chinese painting/calligraphy - brush, ink, paper + ink stone] during a research trip to china. each accordion-fold book includes 25 pages measuring 40 x 40cm, making the total length of each volume a continuous 10meters between two fabric covered + embroidered hard covers. a generous mix of materials are used - ink, spray paint, highlighter pens, acrylic paint + pencil together with torn paper, magazine cut-outs + cardboard collaged throughout
BARE RED books are deeply personal, authentic, incredibly moving and relatable tomes of real human experience in real time. together, the volumes create a linear visual diary of williams’s personal experience + feelings stretched out over days/weeks/months of the lockdown. we’re reading + viewing her daily thoughts and emotions in flux - reacting to the frightening news, anger at the new world outside, loneliness of isolation, the longing for family + friends, the grief of loosing connections, the boredom of monotony, the need for physical touch + sexual release, the bizarreness of newly adopted routines of a new normal; the range of emotions that so many of us shared in experiencing during lockdown
- CONVERS[ISOL]ATION is a collaborative project between Sue Williams and Marilyn Allen, which responds to the experience of social isolation during COVID 19, 2020.
- CONVERS[ISOL]ATION adopts a very different format to conventional art theory texts in that emphasis is placed upon a dialogue between theory and practice rather than an analysis of one by the other.
- CONVERS[ISOL]ATION Each ‘conversation page’ comprises an image and two dialogic pieces of text, which reflect the episodic communication style typically associated with social media platforms such as Twitter.
- CONVERS[ISOL]ATION Reading and writing practices in contemporary culture are inevitably affected by social media and as such the short ‘bursts’ of text, which are characteristic of this project, move between Williams' personal writing/images and Allen's word-events in an edgy contemplation of a lived experience in isolation.
- Image and text - Sue Williams
Word events – Marilyn Allen
Funded by Wales Arts International, Sanshang Museum of Contemporary Art and University of Wales Trinity St David Swansea .
The Sangshang Museum of Contemporary Art in Hangzhou invited OPEN BOOKS to be exhibited between September and December 2013 and was an integral part of a programme looking at the tradition of folding and expanding artist books and is part of an annual programme 'Decanter Ink' to promote contemporary ideas about Chinese ink painting and culture. Exhibiting alongside historical work by Chinese painters from early and mid 20th century and contemporary Chinese ink artists who are taking on this traditional context. I gave a number of lectures on my work at The China Academy of Art, Hangzhou and the University of Hong Kong. A body of research had been gathered:
Men and women communicate differently and some of the factors contributing to this might be cultural or tradition, background or upbringing as well as the obvious issues surrounding personalities. Whilst social and sexual recognition has been paramount within western culture, China has been known for its culturally engrained and profound discrepancy in the female status. Plus with the 'one child' policy, China is dealing with a higher population ratio of men to women highlighting an unequal balance in gender. How does communication between men and women in china differ to western culture and how do Chinese women relate to their own femininity and sexuality within this state of unbalance, particularly when confronted by their counterparts in western culture?
OPEN BOOKS as toured throughout the UK, including Aberyswyth Library; Bristol Academy; China; Shanghai; Hong Kong; Australia; Canada; India; USA and will be exhibited in Hong Kong; China; Japan; India and Dubai in 2019/2020.