Denise Webber: LIFE LINES
Lectures: Feb. 18, 7pm, 21C Museum Hotel | Feb. 21, noon, Bolivar Art Gallery, Art & Visual Studies Building
Exhibition: Feb. 21 - March 20
Denise Webber (b1958 Leicestershire UK) is a British artist working with photography, drawing, audio, and video. She spent her early years in Ammochostos (Famagusta) in Cyprus, until the outbreak of war, when she and her family were evacuated under shell bombardment on the last British convoy to leave the city in June 1974.
She studied both Fine Art and History of Art at Reading University in the UK, subsequently setting up a studio in Somerset. Moving to London, she trained as an AVID film editor with the Women’s Audio-visual Education Scheme and started editing short broadcast dramas and documentaries for young independent directors/producers. At this time, she also produced her two main video works, Clay (part of this exhibition) and Weight, and became part of the flourishing creative scene around Hoxton Square in London. The pioneering American feminist artist Mary Beth Edelson stayed for a week at her studio; “Mary Beth delightfully debunked for me all the myths about being a woman and an artist.” Mary Beth’s work is interested in the way the female body has been exposed and exploited in the history of art. She, too, uses the naked form, usually her own, to challenge and confront the viewer and reclaim the nude from the gaze of male artists.
“What I am most concerned with is spirituality as it manifests itself in our bodies/minds and how this affects how we see/feel about our being, and as a feminist awakening to the greater self as female, as well as making a political statement for women that says I am. I am large, and I am my body, and I am not going away.”
Mary Beth Edelson
She subsequently taught Fine Art and media production at the University of East London and what is now the London Metropolitan University. Through this time, she continued to develop her creative practice and began to travel extensively internationally. This process of travel, for commissions and contracts, focused her concentration on photography and collage and also forced her to confront, as she does in her work, the sense of alienation that found in ubiquitous hotel rooms. It also inspired a body of work, some of which is in this collection, Everywhere That is Not Home, where Webber confronts her agoraphobia creatively while remaining trapped and confined in her hotel room. In her most recent work, she has reintroduced the discipline of drawing, and so her story loops, and her practice develops, an ever-evolving process of discovery and expression.
Denise has exhibited widely, and her work has featured in exhibitions at Tate Modern London, Moderna Museet Stockholm, Hobart Centre for the Arts Tasmania, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Melbourne. Clay is represented in the Arts Council Collection and the Tate Archive.
Stephen Wrentmore, Curator
STEPHEN WRENTMORE is a British theatre director, producer, writer, academic, curator, change consultant, and arts leadership advisor. He teaches directing and Shakespeare at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Theatre and Dance. He was the Artistic Producer at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, until 2018. Formerly, he was Associate Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Company, Artistic Director of the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, and has worked at The National Theatre in London, BAM in New York, and internationally in theatres from Siberia to San Francisco. In the Visual Arts, Stephen worked throughout 2008 with Tate Gallery, with The Garage Moscow on their Rothko exhibition. At Lighthouse, he curated exhibitions by Ineke Van der Wal, Denise Webber, and Graham Piggott.