Gertrude Abercrombie once said, “I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace, I like to paint simple things that are a little strange.” ‘Gertrude Abercrombie once said, “I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace, I like to paint simple things that are a little strange.” ‘Solitary Surrealism’ is a term that often describes Abercrombie’s paintings populated by lone women, cats, owls, and moonlight. Her rooms feature empty chairs, tables, and chaise lounges — a sense of domesticity not so much disrupted but achingly quiet and still.
Abercrombie’s images are otherworldly yet felt so deeply real and profoundly familiar; a dreamy Surrealism with a touch of hallucination. This lecture will focus on Abercrombie’s solitary Surrealism and how her still, isolated art offers us glimpses into marvellous worlds that feel excitingly alive.
Dr Sabina Stent is a freelance writer specialising in women surrealists and visual culture. Her bylines include Magnum Photos, AnOther Magazine, Crime Reads, and MAI: a journal of feminism and visual culture (as a contributing editor). She is especially interested in how work by feminist-surrealists explores the body, fashion, the cinematic, and the uncanny. Her authored book chapters including ‘Women Surrealists and the Egyptian Imagination’ in Tea with the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt and the Modern Imagination (I. B. Tauris, 2019); and ‘Leonor Fini: Fashion Magic Sorceress’ in Making Magic Happen: Selected Essays From the Inaugural Magickal Women Conference 2019 (Hadean Press, 2021).
Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta-based anthropologist and folklorist writing about esoteric history, art, culture, women and Cornwall in various combinations. Her biography of Ithell Colquhoun, Genius of the Fern Loved Gully, is available from Strange Attractor Press, and she is also the editor of the forthcoming collection Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses from Palgrave Macmillan. Other writings can be found at her Medium site https://medium.com/@amyhale93 and her website www.amyhale.me.
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