Nature in Mind


From the wall plaque at the installation:

Madge Gill "Nature in Mind"
Untitled, c1930-1954
Ink on postcard (x10)
original Works: 13.5 x 8.7cm
Reproductions: 118.9 x 74.5cm

Madge Gill (1882-1961) lived and worked in Newham 1920-1961. A self-taught artist, she created meticulous small-scale and monumental works, skilfully exploring different techniques and formats including paints, inks and textiles. Gill's life story is one of triumph over adversity. The hardships she endured saw her turn to spiritualism and making, both providing relief from her mental turmoil. Her drawings often feature repetitive patterns of flowers, swirling shapes, architechtural forms and checkerboards. A female figure often appears in her work, thoguh Gill never offered an explanation of who she was.

This black and white series is part of Madge Gill: Nature in Mind, an outdoor exhibition across five sites in Newham that celebrates the inspiration the artist found from natural surroundings. Gill was known to create over a hundred postcards in a single evening and these ten black ink drawings reflect her most recognisable style and medium. Although repetitive in nature each postcard is unique.

Nature in Mind, curated by The Line with Sophie Dutton, features large-scale installations that reflect the atrist's own process of bringing her largest works outside, into the garden, to see them in their entirety. She often referenced floral elements in her work and once stated: "If I were a man, I would have gone abroad and stidied botany".

The reproductions on display are from Newham Council's unique collection of over 1,200 works by the artist, all of whcih she created while living in the borough.