ARTIST'S NOTES My recent work is an exploration of the traditional relationships between the roles of the artist, the model, and the idea of the frame. The term artist has assumed a male gender, that of model has presupposed a female subject, and the idea of the frame, particularly a gilt frame, has been seen as elevating the status of the image.

In protecting and defining the subject, the frame also restricts the image, quietly limiting its meaning. In this exhibition, the power of the frame is part of the meaning of the work, acting as a metaphor of the unseen frameworks in which we are contained, and within which we contain ourselves. In some work the frame remains closed; in other work it is forced open, made to flow, evaded, transformed.

Cutting Edge

Within the two frames, the models I have chosen derive from mythological, historical, and personal sources - the Virgin, Eve, Pandora, Joan of Arc, and Vigee-Le Brun, Gentileschi, Leyster and the anonymous model first performed by me in 'Surveillance'. The subjects have been chosen to initiate questions about the perpetuation of the image of the female model, about the limitations surrounding mythological and historical female archetypes, and about the invisibility of the women artists who could act as effective role models.

Part of the meaning of the work challenges the art historical assumption that women should be contained by the frame but rarely seen as creators of it. This intent extends to confronting other conventional categories - for example, the boundaries between painting and sculpture - in an attempt to open out habitual frames of reference. The individual works are not passive but determinedly active.
Rose Garrard, 'Frameworks', Lewis Johnstone Gallery, London 1983

ART PRESS This exhibition is about choice; the illusory element of choice in a decision to act, when such action has meaning only in terms of a pitifully small number of unattainable role models. Garrard's act of denial, which undermines the paradigmatic practices of 'risk-taking' and 'tackling major issues', is composed of a double moment. On the one hand she is stripping away so much metaphorical dead wood from her chosen symbols, revealing them, with clarity, in their own particular, factual existence. But at the same instant that these works seem to fall apart into the countless, disarticulated elements, the possibility of a far richer poetry becomes evident. What Garrard's work insists upon, is that to offer someone a choice is insufficient; what matters is that one must be offered the possibility of making that choice ... The offer to each of us of the responsibility which attends the search for meaning is one made in good faith; Pandora's and Garrard's Bird of Hope is an ever present companion.
Michael Archer, Art Monthly, April 1983

'Frameworks' Lewis Johnstone Gallery London
'Frames of Mind' Kettle's Yard Cambridge
'Between Ourselves' Ikon Gallery Birmingham

Canvas, calico, gilt frame, oil paint, and curtain rail.