Spike Island

Corita Kent and Ciara PhillipsPull Everything Out

Date

30 June to 26 August 2012

Event type

Exhibitions

Pull Everything Out brings together over 70 prints by the celebrated American artist and educator Corita Kent with contemporary work by Glasgow-based, Irish-Canadian artist Ciara Phillips. The exhibition draws out both artists’ commitment to collaboration, learning and experimentation and highlights graphic concerns shared between artists of different generations.

Kent (1918-1986), also known as Sister Corita, was a pioneering artist and a charismatic educator and activist. Her exuberant, day-glo prints of the 1960s drew freely from the billboards and advertising slogans of America’s new consumer culture, recontextualising corporate straplines to imbue them with new meaning. As head of the art department at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, Kent was deeply engaged with the community, lecturing, running workshops and participating in marches. Her actions subsequently attracted national attention, and her followers included filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, graphic designer Saul Bass, designers Charles and Ray Eames and polymath R. Buckminster Fuller, who described his encounter with Kent at the college as ‘among the most fundamentally inspiring experiences of my life’.  

This exhibition features the most extensive selection of Kent’s prints to date in the UK. These include text-based works from the mid-1960s as well as later, more politically engaged pieces from the end of that decade, created  as consciousness of America’s activities in Vietnam developed alongside greater debate around feminism and civil rights.

Phillips is a contemporary artist based in Glasgow who similarly works with print in an expanded sense, producing textiles, photographs and wall paintings. Typically diverse in their references, which have included medieval woodcuts and the postmodern furniture and product design of the Memphis group, these works consider material, method and process in relation to forms of written and visual language. Phillips’ work has also made reference to Corita's in the past – particularly her Art Department Rules, from which the Pull Everything Out title is drawn.

During the first month of the exhibition Phillips will set up a studio and printing workshop in the gallery, partnering with visiting artists and designers as well as those already working within the building to develop a publication based on Irregular Bulletin, the in-house journal of the Immaculate Heart College during Kent’s time there. This process brings to the fore the collaborative nature of art production and the communities of interest that give rise to the creation and dissemination of art and ideas, central to the work of both Kent and Phillips. 

Corita Kent

Corita Kent (1918-1986) became internationally recognised for her brightly coloured silkscreen prints during the 1960s and 1970s. Admired by Charles and Ray Eames, Buckminster Fuller, John Cage and Saul Bass, Kent was one of the most innovative and unusual pop artists of the 1960s whilst living and practising as a Catholic nun in California.

As a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles, she ran the Art Department at Immaculate Heart College until 1968 when she left the Order and moved to Boston to pursue her art. Over the next 18 years Corita produced over 400 prints and made many commissioned works such as book covers and textbook illustrations. She also remained socially engaged, designing posters and billboards for Share, The International Walk for Hunger, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Amnesty International.

Corita Art Center website

Ciara Phillips

Born in Ottawa, Canada, and currently based in Glasgow, Ciara Phillips studied Fine Art at Queen's University, Kingston, where she received a BFA in 2000, and at the Glasgow School of Art where she received an MFA in 2004.

Recent exhibitions include: DOVBLE TROVBLE, curated by It's Our Playground at CCA, Glasgow (2012), The only rule is work  at Kendall Koppe, Glasgow (2011), Modern Languages at National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny and Galway City Museum (2011), Springtime will never be the same at Deuxieme Bureau/Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt (2011), Zwischenraum : Space Between at Der Kunstverein, Hamburg (2010),and Optimism and its signs at Atelier am Eck, Düsseldorf (2010).

Phillips is the initiator of Poster Club, a group of seven Glasgow-based artists who work collaboratively and who have recently exhibited together at Eastside Projects in Birmingham as part of Narrative Show (2011).

Ciara Phillips' website