Coral Woodbury: Revised Edition

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HackelBury Fine Art, London, presents Coral Woodbury’s second solo exhibition, Revised Edition, featuring new work from three series, all inspired by the form and substance of the book. Woodbury uses recurring motifs such as ashes, palimpsests, and remnants of material culture to evoke themes of absence and memory, and bridge human connection across time. 

In her series, Revised Edition, Woodbury enacts a feminist intervention in the art history canon. On pages torn from the seminal Janson’s History of Art – which entirely omitted artist women from its first 29 printings – she, with sumi ink, paints women back into the history which excluded them. Her work renders the invisible visible.

 “When complete, Revised Edition will encompass 617 paintings and will stand as testimony against the erasure of others which reaches deeply into our culture.”

Oil paintings from the Broken Spine series continue this same exploration of the vagaries of memory, time, and history. Translucent layers of paint and obscured writing lend an ephemeral quality which suggests the fading, forgetting, and fragmenting of the past. From parchment manuscripts, to authors’ galley proofs, to the current US book banning epidemic — the traces and erasures of thought become part of the process of painting. 

“These paintings originated when I was recovering from a fractured spine. Themes of brokenness and repair entered my work, and I began exploring the metaphorical connections between book and body.”

The series In Place is Woodbury’s personal travelogue, noted in colour rather than writing. Finding a timeworn book specific to the location has become an orienting ritual upon arrival. The pages, swatched in various hues of gouache, record fleeting experiences in the language of color.