I am working on an Artist’s Book for an upcoming exhibition, Capturing Movement: Art and Contemporary Dance, to be held at the University of Kent in September. I have been invited to take part in the exhibition by curator, Camilla H.Eriksen. The book has a narrative based on a passage from the gospel of John. The model signed the passage and the pages will be in correct sequential order.
I finished proofing a new Juliet print recently. This one is called ‘Juliet, From my Lips’ It’s an original photo etching, in an edition of 20. It’s the next in the series of Shakespeare prints, measuring 42 x 52 cm and printed from two copper plates.
My new Shakespeare Prints were shown at the Bankside Gallery in July in an Exhibition, Shakespeare: A Celebration. If you missed the show you can see a short film about it by clicking the link below. The film was made by Right Angle.
Here are the first two finished photo etchings, each an edition of 20. One is titled Palm to Palm, Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, Act One, Scene One. The other one is called The Bewildered World, Titania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act Two, Scene One. They will be part of a collaborative exhibition with the Globe Theatre and the RE and RWS, Shakespeare: A Celebration at the Bankside Gallery from the 30th June until the 10th July.
Yesterday, I had a wonderful time photographing and filming Shakespearean actor, Nadia Nadarajah with Zoe Hackett interpreting again. Nadia performed some of Titania, from a Midsummer’s Night Dream, which she has played with the theatre company Definitely Theatre at the Globe in 2012 and 2014. She explained that Shakespeare is ideally suited to the Deaf language because of the visual metaphors he uses
Had a very rewarding photo shoot a couple of weeks ago with the talented deaf actress Zoe McWhinney assisted by BSL interpreter Zoe Hackett. We convened at the Siobhan Davies Dance studios in Southwark, on a beautiful sunlit morning.McWhinney performed three Shakespearean extracts from the roles of Juliet, Cordelia and Miranda. I’m taking time to sift through all the photos before deciding which ones to work on with photo montage to take through into photo etching.
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of Shakespeare giving rise to a whole host of special exhibitions and events throughout the country. The Bankside Gallery will be showing an exhibition of Shakespeare inspired prints in June made by members of the RE, (the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers).
This subject appeals to me and I decided at the beginning of the year to make a series of prints using deaf actors or models performing extracts of Shakespeare roles.
My first model was Phyllisha Johnson, a partially hearing lady who takes part in church worship, sometimes using BSL and SignDance. I asked Phyllisha to sign one of Portia’s speeches from the Merchant of Venice. Portia assumes the role of a lawyer’s apprentice to deliver this speech and dresses accordingly.
“The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath; it is twice blest, It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes………’
I hired a tudor woman’s costume to photograph, to add to the image, to represent Portia’s hidden identity. I’ve had fun arranging the costume in various ways……..
and trying various ideas for incorporating all the different elements…………
Lincoln’s Usher Gallery is now showing Shifting Subjects, a film produced by the Abbey Walk Gallery, featuring interviews from the artists featured in the Shifting Subjects exhibition including Linda Ingham, Margaret Ashman and Wendy Elia. This is a trailer for the film…..
A Shifting Subjects conference took place in Leeds on the 20th October. I joined the audience to listen to speakers Wendy Elia on Self Portraiture by women from the Renaissance to the present; Dr. Alison Rowley, of the University of Huddersfield, on Four Portraits of Sarah Lucas as an Artist and Poppy Bowers, curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, on Sarah Lucas: Situation Absolute Beach Man Rubble. I feel privileged to be showing work alongside Wendy Elia, Sarah Lucas, Linda Ingham and Miranda Whall in the Shifting Subjects Exhibition, which is drawing to a close on Saturday. There are plans to bring the show to London early next year which is exciting news!
Shifting Subjects is now open at the Abbey Walk Gallery. The show opened on Wednesday. It features commissioned work by Wendy Elia, Linda Ingham and myself, and pieces by Sarah Lucas and Miranda Whall.
Annay McNay writes:
“Out of the three commissioned artists, Margaret Ashman deals with the notion of artist-audience communication the most directly. The sign dance she performs in her film comprises an artistic combination of dance steps and sign language for the deaf, rendering a rough translation of a poem she wrote in the journal she kept as part of this project. Throughout the dance Ashman seems partly to be communicating with, partly to be unaware of the audience. As a devout Christian, whose religiosity infuses her work, she might perhaps be deemed to be in communication with God. The sequence could be a slow meditation, a yoga-like salutation. Holding her hands together in prayer, uttering ‘Amen’, and then towards the end of the film, a sudden burst of spoken speech: ‘In the beginning was the word’. Ashman makes explicit the significance of language and communication as a means to define the self. Her choice to show the film alongside photo etchings gives rise to a multiplicity of languages and different levels of metarepresentation, emphasising the many possible translations and modes of expression of the self; there is no one sign, or subject+identity, that defines an autobiography. Across time and space everything shifts.”