The Unseen & The Ghostly: Female Legacies of Spiritualism & Surrealism

Thu 1 October 2020 : 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Not Without My Ghosts curator Simon Grant leads an online panel discussion with art historian and expert on Surrealism, Professor Dawn Ades; exhibition artist Olivia Plender; and curator and archivist at the College of Psychic Studies, Vivienne Roberts.

The Unseen & the Ghostly: female legacies of Spiritualism & Surrealism will act as an introduction to the exhibition, whilst uncovering how female artists have been key to the development of mediumistic art practices, from the early pioneers of Spiritualist art Georgiana Houghton and Anna Mary Howitt, to the groundbreaking Surrealist works of Ithell Colquhoun and Grace Pailthorpe, as well as showing how contemporary female artists continue to engage with ideas of the supernatural, the subconscious and the otherworldly. The talk will examine key works, discussing both the varied techniques employed and revealing how these were shaped by the context of the times of their making.

This online panel talk will be hosted live on Zoom at 6:30pm, Thur 1st Oct.

Olivia Plender's work focuses on national identities, histories and myth making; she has a particular interest in the history of spiritualism related to feminism and cultural histories. She has exhibited internationally: solo exhibitions include: Tensta Konsthall (2019); Maureen Paley Gallery, London (2016); MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, Arnolfini, Bristol; and CCA, Glasgow (2012/13). In 2014 she curated an exhibition of Sylvia Pankhurst’s art works at Tate Britain, London (with The Emily Davison Lodge).

Vivienne Roberts is the Curator and Archivist at the College of Psychic Studies in London where she curated Art and Spirit: Visions of Wonder (2019) and Encounters with the Spirit World (2016). She has written several articles on spirit art and founded websites on Madge Gill and Georgiana Houghton, with the aim of sharing knowledge of the artists and the genre of spirit art.

Dawn Ades CBE is Professor Emerita at the University of Essex, a Fellow of the British Academy and Professor of the History of Art at the Royal Academy. She has been responsible for some of the most important exhibitions in London and overseas over the past 30 years, including Dalí/Duchamp at the Royal Academy (2017-18); the centenary exhibition of Salvador Dalí at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2004); and Dada and Surrealism Reviewed at the Hayward Gallery (1978). She was Associate Curator for Manifesta 9 (2012). She has published standard works on photomontage, Dada and Surrealism, and her Collected Writings were published in 2018.

Simon Grant is is editor of Tate Etc magazine, co-editor of Picpus magazine and author/editor of several books. His most recent curatorial projects include Paul Nash at Fondation Vincent van Gogh, (Arles 2018) and Georgiana Houghton: Spirit Drawings at the Courtauld Gallery (2016).

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Olivia Plender, A Stellar Key to the Summerland 2007 ink on drawings, 21 x 29.7cm Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley Gallery