JESSICA CHARLESTON & ANNA ILSLEY 'FORTUNA' 2022
May 14th - May 22nd
An exhibition of works on paper and a collaborative wall drawing by Jessica Jane Charleston and Anna Ilsley. Celebrating Motherhood as deeply creative, frenetic and taking us to the edges of our capacity, tolerance and existence.
‘Mothers are the countries we come from: sometimes when I hold my daughter I try to apprehend this belonging for her, to feel myself as solid and fixed, to capture my smell and shape and atmosphere. I try to flesh out her native landscape. I try to imagine what it would be like to have me as a mother, and when I do it seems remarkable to me that this mysterious and momentous transaction has been accomplished here, in my house. The transaction I refer to is not that which has brought my daughter into existence: it is the process by which a mother has been made of me, and though I know it is the hardest work I have ever done I still worry that my execution of it has been somehow flawed and unauthentic, a burned offering, a botched canvas.’ - Rachel Cusk, 'A Life’s Work'
Jessica considers drawing to be at the heart of her work. She draws her dreams, her son, her imagination, herself. These drawings act as a starting point for her paintings, prints and clay figures. Her work often focuses on the female form and ideas of womanhood and more recently - motherhood.
Based in London, Jessica graduated from the Royal Drawing School in 2017. In 2020 she was awarded the Young Artist Award from the Royal Watercolour Society. She has exhibited her paintings with Guts Gallery, Kris Day’s Papercuts at The Saatchi Gallery, The London Art Fair (represented by The Nunnery Gallery) and most recently been selected to exhibit in the Artist Support Pledge exhibition A Generous Space at The Hastings Contemporary.
Over the past ten years or so, Anna Ilsley’s oil paintings, frescoes and drawings have been spaces in which she contemplates intimacy and sensuality in the face of archaic ideals of female chastity, sin and sexiness that still haunt contemporary culture. More recently her paintings celebrate motherhood and mothering, whilst responding to the inherent expectations and responsibilities drawn up from the murky depths of our mother and child image - world.
Anna is based in Suffolk and is studying on Turps Banana Correspondence Course 2021-2022. She graduated from Royal Drawing School in 2010 and University of Brighton’s BA in Fine Art Painting in 2006. Recent exhibitions include Crab Bisque at St Chad’s Projects, Lovers Lane at Oceans Apart and Dearly Beloved at Galleri Tom Christoffersen. She has taken part in many Artist in Residence schemes, most recently at Newnham College, University of Cambridge for which she received an Arts Council Research and Development Award.