Between Ourselves

POPULAR PRESS From this position of the knowing woman artist Rose Garrard comments upon male/female relations. In her installation, the pieces 'Bed Spread' and 'Bed Head', two full size plaster beds face each other across the gallery. Something about the distance they keep tells you that one belongs to a woman and the other to a man.

Between Ourselves

Lying in the first bed, awake, nervous, a gun under her pillow, is Degas' old beggar woman. She is unpainted, unadorned, Rose Garrard's standard symbol for reality. Slumped at the foot of another bed, drunk perhaps, for the book he was reading has slipped to the floor, is Joseph from Gentileschi's Flight into Egypt. This distance between the two beds, the two characters from art, says the artist is the real distance between an old man and an old woman. The unreal version, art's version, is preserved in a full colour image woven into the fabric of Joseph's bedspread. A perfect young Adam has found himself a perfect young Eve complete with snake and apple. On this hard contrast between the tired, worried face of Degas's old beggar woman and the erotic fantasy of Joseph's bedspread, this most impressive exhibition rests its case.
Waldemar Januszczak, The Guardian, February 1 1984

Bed Head

Bed Spread

ART PRESS The predominantly white installation suggests the possibility of new beginnings within an elaborate web of personal and historical references. Along the main wall, a series of Window-pieces re-construct six idealised female portraits from the Birmingham collection as large, painted plaster reliefs, with the silhouette of the artist herself as an active participant in the reclaiming process. On each of the pieces, loose fabric-plaster moves outside the framework, evidence of new possibilities and choices beyond the stereotype ... The female is no longer considered in isolation and in this lies the central theme of the exhibition, as seen in two key works. In 'Bed Head', an old woman alone in bed holds a gun, an easily recognisable image of the female condition, which the artist links to the mythological idea of the Holy Family as portrayed in Orazio Gentileschi's (Artemisia's father) 'Rest on the Flight into Egypt' represented above her head. In 'Bed Spread', the book of knowledge that tumbles from the hands of a sleeping male figure is interpreted as the source behind a painted fantasy of Adam and Eve, the male-mythologized symbol of sexual relationships. In both these works Rose Garrard seems to have gone beyond specific personal or historical references, and has begun to communicate some of the searching and difficult issues that lie between male and female relationships.
Tessa Sidey, Arts Review, February 1984

POPULAR PRESS Miss Garrard is a striking looking woman in her late thirties with the kind of facial bone structure that invites a portrait ... Her models are chickens, parsnips or cabbages. The inspiration is a picture she came across in the art gallery of a domestic interior. It is a handsome picture with a buxom cook surrounded by good things.

"It might be a symbolic representation of death in life" says Miss Garrard gesturing toward the fish and poultry. "But the mystery intrigues me since the picture may well have been painted by a woman."
When her creation is finished she will place a life sized female figure on one side of the banquet and a male on the other. At the moment she has cast a chicken in plaster and some vegetables and they resemble those remarkable things you used to see in fridges in gas and electricity showrooms.
Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post, December 5 1983

ART PRESS In recent years Rose Garrard has questioned the hierarchies within art, and challenged the archetypal roles that surround women. She now develops these themes further in a three month residency at Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery. Most of the new work in the current exhibition was produced during this period and, not surprisingly, makes direct references to the works in the Birmingham collection. The result is an absorbing insight into an artist reinterpreting and re-assessing existing works of art ... A sixteenth century Dutch painting 'Preparation for a Feast' provides the starting point for the optimistic wallpiece, 'Regenerate/Reconstitute', thirteen women gather to prepare a meal. The Last Supper theme is continued in two sloping tables that project down from either side of the installation space towards the floor. In 'Tilted Table; Cornucopia' a colourful, carefully prepared table of food slides down from an overturned classical urn towards a passive old woman, while on the other 'Tilted Table; Last Supper' a stream of red-tainted Madonnas move towards an equivalent old man; traditional symbols literally in the process of being re-evaluated.
Tessa Sidey, Arts Review, February 1984

Window; Reclaim Kate Bunce - series of 6

ARTIST'S NOTES I want to re-work, re-establish, re-discover, re-appropriate, re-constitute, re-create ... I want to find ways of using and creating images of women and men that express the understanding of women and their fantasies .. .! hope one day to be in a position where I know that the work is not only being understood as coming from this female sensibility but is being valued equally to work by male artists.
Rose Garrard, press release, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1983

'Between Ourselves' Ikon Gallery Birmingham &
Bluecoat Gallery Liverpool
Rochdale Art Gallery Lancashire
Midland Group Nottingham
Arnolfini Bristol
South Hill Park Bracknell
ICA London

Eleven large multi-media works

Artists Residency at Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, organised by Ikon Gallery Birmingham and funded by Arts Council of Great Britain and West Midland Arts. Source material; historic paintings in the collection of Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery

Window Series: Re-create, Harvey and Carole Lisberg Palm Springs California
Preparatory drawings, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery and many private collections.