Coral Woodbury: Palimpsest
HackelBury Fine Art, 4th November 2021 – 22nd January 2022
HackelBury Fine Art, London is pleased to present: Palimpsest, a solo exhibition of new work by Coral Woodbury, and her first solo exhibition in the UK and Europe, in which her allegiance to people’s stories and making the invisible visible permeate three bodies of work. In Revised Edition the artist redraws the history of art from a feminist perspective; in Palimpsest she illuminates the transformative power of time and life experience and in the In Place series she employs the language of colour as a record of cross-cultural travel. The title of the exhibition Palimpsest reflects this idea of a journey through time, life and place.
Books are a recurring theme in Woodbury’s work. Their structure becomes a composition with which to work, providing “a tension between text and image”. Her fascination with palimpsests (ancient parchment manuscripts which were reused over centuries) lies in the connection of humans across time – through their thoughts and their hands. For Woodbury a book is a metaphor and she finds parallels between body and book, the spine that binds it and holds it together. The vellum and the skin, what is held inside and the covering.
Coral Woodbury (b. 1971) critically reinterprets Western artistic heritage from a feminist perspective, bringing overdue focus and reverence to the long line of women artists who worked without recognition or enduring respect.
Coral’s most recent project Revised Edition focuses on Janson‘s History of Art. First published in 1962, the book quickly became a referential text on art history, for generations shaping the Western canon and understanding of art. Its influence as a survey textbook should however have been called into question as the text did not mention any female artists until 1986. The more recent editions of the book are still heavily male-dominated, failing to recognise the legacy and importance of women artists.
With Revised Edition, Coral inks portraits of women artists over images from the well-known canon. Using material culture which is available to her – either photographs or self-portraits of the women – Coral makes visible those who are obscured from history. She describes herself as a “historian, gazing backward, and as an artist, creating anew” whose works “are a way to heal the injustices and omissions of art history”. Recognising that women were vital contributors to art history and yet excluded from it both in their own and subsequent times, Coral reclaims space for them. Bringing women together across time and place, she re-recasts and re-crafts the story of art.
“What has even been deemed art at all, all of art history was defined and determined by men” explains Coral. As women were for centuries excluded from art institutions and forbidden to perform what was considered essential artistic training, their creative input was often demoted to the areas of art considered as minor as well as domestic decorative crafts. Coral’s inclusion in the Revised Edition of portraits of women artists who were omitted from the realm of High Art, makes a stand against male.
b. 1971, NY
Lives and works in Boston, NY
About HackelBury Fine Art
Established in 1998, the London gallery in Launceston Place is committed to nurturing long-term relationships with both artists and clients. It continues to evolve and progress through an expanding program of gallery exhibitions, museum projects and publishing ventures.
The small group of artists with whom HackelBury work, represent a diversity of practice, pushing the boundaries of various media. The work and practice of these artists encompasses the worlds of photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture and performance. Each artist, whether emerging or established, creates work defined by a depth of thought and breadth and consistency of approach.
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