Artist diary: Madge Gill Co-Commission, part eleven

Artist Julia Oak shares how adrenalin has helped her prepare for the All Souls exhibition finally opening this month

It’s been a while.

It was too hard to write down the emotions and thoughts of lockdown through the bleak months when the beauty is in bare trees. At these times all that I can place on paper are the marks I make with my pens. I know this from past life experiences. enforced confinement is a familiar bedfellow and what led to the conversations with myself on paper some twenty plus years ago. Because my drawings started as conversations in those dark years of my life.

A page from Julia’s sketchbook

Adrenalin works in strange ways in our bodies. Initially I kept going with it all, I was all fired up, meeting deadlines, planning for the great show. Although halted because of the pandemic, my conscious mind knew, but the rest of me couldn’t stop, I created sketchbook after sketchbook, started a smaller long drawing and set myself the target to draw every day and post the drawings on Instagram. Eventually the adrenalin rush slowed. The sketchbooks were the first to be put on hold and then the long drawing, however I kept to my challenge of 30 minutes of drawing every day posting with the hashtag #justdraweveryday.

Film of Julia Oak drawing

March saw a shift in my daily drawings, Beings from another world began to inhabit the page, day after day my pen dowsed them from the page. this was followed by the plant life in this newly found world, then insects, birds and creepy crawlies. all created with one continuous line that doesn’t touch or cross over. More recently my drawings are dowsing the contours of the landscapes that these mythological beings inhabit.

April saw society begin to emerge, and my health took a temporary knock, it wasn’t too pleased at the idea of turning on the adrenalin and fighting infection at the same time. But with the help of modern antibiotics adrenalin won and on 25th April I was back in The Gallery making a film of my drawing ‘Enter These Enchanted Woods’. Since then, the exhibition has been hung by the brilliant team at Pallant House Gallery, posters have been displayed and postcards mailed out.

Me, I have created a 20-minute film, recorded poetry, written and recorded an audio description, made a time lapse film of the installation and a PowerPoint presentation for the launch event. All in two weeks. Adrenalin has not let me down.

All that is left is for a couple of zoom meetings with the tech teams before the Exhibition Launch event on Zoom at 7pm on Monday 17th May 2021. I do hope you can make it. My exhibition, All Souls, opens at Pallant House Gallery on Tuesday 18th May 2021. Please book a time slot in advance, you never know, I might just be there drinking a celebratory coffee in the courtyard garden.

1 Comment about this

  1. Melanie

    It’s been so lovely seeing the progress and persistence you’ve put into this commission – I’m now looking forward to seeing everything in situ, in person, and in full sensory overwhelm mode.

    Reply moderated

What do you think about this? Guidelines for commenting

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *