Vanessa Baird: If ever there were an end to a story that had no beginning

Accompanying Vanessa Baird’s first solo exhibition in the UK, this publication introduces Baird’s world through a selection of extraordinary drawings produced over the last six years, including an immense wall-size seascape created for the show represented in the publication as a double page gatefold.

Baird captures the states of exhaustion, boredom and frustration that accompany the everyday tasks of looking after a household, conjuring up the chaotic detritus of domestic life in a kaleidoscope of provocatively raw imagery. Portraying herself with honest vulnerability, as a mother, daughter and carer, explicitly describing the taboo subjects of intimate bodily functions and the ageing female body. 

Her work is underpinned by a dark sense of humour, with scenes made more menacing by Baird’s use of pictorial foreshortening and angled perspectives; her figures are compressed into claustrophobic spaces that draw the viewer unavoidably into nightmarish psychodramas.

Beneath the muted-tone jacket the embossed title is revealed, as well as the hidden images of Red Herring Prednisolon ciclosporin, 2014–18, a series of intimate self-portraits, made over a period of four years whilst the artist was being treated for a chronic illness.

Including essays by Anita Haldemann (Head of the Kupferstichkabinett, Department of Prints and Drawings, and Deputy Director at Kunstmuseum Basel) and Gillian Fox (Independent Curator and Assistant Curator at Hayward Gallery Touring), with an introduction by Mary Doyle (Co-Director of Drawing Room).

This 72 page, paperback publication includes 47 colour illustrations and was designed by London-based multidisciplinary design studio Wolfe Hall. Edition of 500, printed by Graphius.

£14.99