This is the last month for a show I’ve been included in at The Collection, in Lincolnshire, England. It’s the first time I’ve had art shown in England, and I’m very honored to be included in the exhibit, which features work by several artists I deeply admire — artists whose work has served as inspiration and model for my own process. The exhibit, called Silent Witnesses: Graphic Novels Without Words , focuses on comics that tell their narratives in purely visual terms, without resort to word balloons or captions. My interest in the format (which arguably goes back into history far beyond the time people were thinking about “comics” as a medium) is an interest in a purely visual language: a language that stands apart from (while being related to) spoken and written language. The curator, Darren Diss, chose artwork from my wordless comic “Combustion,” which tells the story of a soldier lost behind enemy lines.
Here is a sampling of the artists on display (not necessarily the work being shown at The Collection). Click on artist names to see more info or more work. Firstly, there are pioneers of the form:
Frans Masereel, whose masterpiece “Passionate Journey” directly lead me to “Combustion” (the ending of “Combustion” is actually a tip of the hat to, and a sort of inversion of, the end of “Passionate Journey”).
And several artists whose work I’m glad to have been introduced to, thanks to the show:
Here’s the press release for the show (they used a panel of “Combustion” for it, which was nice):
Silent Witnesses: Graphic Novels Without Words
Curated by Darren Diss
Artists include: Lars Arrhenius, Hendrik Dorgathen, Eric Drooker, Max Ernst, Matt Forsythe, Alexandra Higlett, Laurence Hyde, Jason, Andrzej Klimowski, Peter Kuper, Chris Lanier, Frans Masereel, Otto Nuckel, Shaun Tan, Zoe Taylor, Lynd Ward, Sara Varon and Jim Woodring.
This exhibition brings together the work of internationally recognised artists and illustrators from around the world working in Graphic Novel form. Spanning publications from the early twentieth century to the present day, the works contained in the exhibition are distinct in that all use the capacity of images alone to communicate narrative, functioning entirely without the use of text.
The exhibition celebrates the book form and in particular the Graphic Novel as an increasingly popular medium for artists and explores its enduring appeal to readers of all ages. By focussing on works without text it examines the underlying structure and mechanics of developing a Graphic Novel, exposing it as a unique art form. It looks at the Novel in the true sense, as an extended sequence conveying a narrative. The show includes preparation and working drawings, writings, flat plans, sketch books and character studies and associated works alongside complete book-works to reveal the various developmental stages in creating a Graphic Novel.
The exhibition combines works from a wide range of cultural contexts, from modern popular Graphic Novels, with scratchboard images by Eric Drooker produced for his novel ‘Flood’, to woodcuts by Frans Masereel for his his 1925 work ‘Die Stadt’, to original drawings by Sara Varon for her well loved books, ‘Sweater Weather’, ‘Robo and Hund’ and ‘Chicken and Cat’. Also in the show will be a large scale flat-print version of ‘A-Z’ by Lars Arrhenius, a novel produced on the iconic A-Z map of London. Shown in print form it allows the viewer to scan the intersecting narratives sewn through the map in a single image, creating ever new readings.
Works for the exhibition have been loaned to The Collection from the British Museum, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Klinspor Museum, Offenbach, Scott Eder Gallery, New York, and from the exhibiting artists.
The show’s curator, Darren Diss, is an established illustrator and Senior Lecturer in Illustration at The University of Lincoln. He has a specialist academic research interest in Textless Narratives.
And here, lastly, are a few pictures taken at a preview of the show — looks like they did a terrific job, it all seems very attractively laid out. Wish I could’ve hopped the pond to see it in person.