Revised Edition – Drawing Women Back into the History of Art: Coral Woodbury in conversation with Claudia Tobin
This Summer Term, the Royal Drawing School continues its series of Creative Conversations; online dialogues between artists, curators and writers. Curated by Dr Claudia Tobin, lectures are held Wednesday evenings live on Zoom.
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Coral Woodbury and Claudia Tobin will discuss Coral’s most recent project, Revised Edition, which rectifies the complete erasure of women artists from the first 29 printings of Janson‘s History of Art. First published in 1962, it became the defining art history text of the twentieth century, shaping the Western canon and understanding of art for generations. And yet the text did not mention a single female artist until 1986. With Revised Edition, Coral inks portraits of women artists on pages torn from the book, making visible those who have been obscured. 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 yet excluded from the record 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.
'Louise Nevelson' Coral Woodbury, 2020 Sumi ink on book page 29.21 x 22.23cm © Coral Woodbury, Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art
Coral and Claudia will explore key influences and events which have informed Coral's work, including her museum career with work at the Newport Mansions, documenting the untold stories of the domestic service; her travels to Cuba and Nepal which inspired the Havana and Himalayan Colours series and the universality of loss which led her to explore themes in her paintings around healing and the beauty in the broken places.
'Kim Lim' Coral Woodbury, 2020, Sumi ink on book page 29.21 x 22.23cm
© Coral Woodbury, Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art
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. She has participated in numerous residencies, in Romania with D Fleiss & East-West Artists and in Italy with rosenclaire, with whom she has worked for nearly 30 years. She has been awarded a Rhode Island State Council for the Arts grant for an international printmaking project, and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study meaning-making and the transmission of public memory in museums. Coral exhibits nationally and internationally, recently including Opening Press Week of the 58th Venice Biennale, the Taragaon Museum in Kathmandu, and in the unsanctioned #00Bienal de la Habana in Cuba. In 2020, Coral was a finalist for the international Mother Art Prize, culminating in an exhibition in London. Coral is represented by HackelBury Fine Art, London, and Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Boston.
Dr Claudia Tobin is a writer and curator. She held a Leverhulme Fellowship at University of Cambridge 2017-19 and is now a Senior Research Associate at Jesus College Cambridge and Visiting Fellow at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies. She recently co-curated Jerusalem in Exile: Artist’s Books by Kamal Boullata. She recently published Modernism and Still Life: Artists, Writers, Dancers (2020), and is co-editor of Ways of Drawing: Artists' Perspectives and Practices (Thames & Hudson, 2019).