Artist Denise Brown and writer Gail Robinson’s ten superbly crafted hand-made art books, Cemented by Shadows are completed and ready for exhibition at the Art/Text Clearinghouse Project exhibition.
They explain that forming a bond between two artists who like to keep a firm hand on the controls when working on individual projects – one a larger than life visual artist with roots in England’s Cotswalds and the other an awarded Perth writer and poet – takes a very special adhesive.
The mixture comprises Denise Brown’s vibrant drawings which skilfully translate past into present. Add to that the tightly crafted poetry created intuitively by Gail Robinson in response to the drawings.
The surprise ingredient is the joy both artists then found in releasing control to their collaborator when the time came for combining the content into the art books. Denise and Gail are pleased with the books. ‘They are precious little gems,’ Gail said, ‘it’s been a real privilege to work with Denise, she’s so dedicated to doing great work. Although I did worry that we might clash, with both of us being strong personalities.’
Denise believes that respect for each other’s expertise overcame those worries and made it easy to relax into the collaboration. ‘We knew each other’s work and thought highly of it. I think that’s why I could share control of the project, even though I’ve always been very reluctant to do that on any other project I’ve been involved in. But knowing we both had high standards pushed us both a bit.
Both artists agree that the creation of a hand-made art book had its challenges. ‘Each of us had to give a little to the other’s expertise in their field,’ Denise said, ‘but it lifted our thinking too, and now we really can’t think of anyone else we could work with and come out the other side still talking.’