Art on a Postcard (AOAP) host its 4th International Women’s Day, with a new format for 2023. AOAP have invited seven female curators; Beth Greenacre, Louise Fitzjohn (Liminal Gallery), Bakul Patki, Lee Sharrock, Mollie Barnes (She Curates) Sandra De Giorgi and Carrie Scott, to each curate an exhibition featuring female artists. Each exhibition will run as seven concurrent auctions, all raising money to support The Hepatitis C Trust’s work with women affected by the criminal justice system both in prison and local communities.
Lee Sharrock in conversation with artist Venetia Berry, who is featured in the auction curated by Mollie Barnes:
Lee Sharrock: 7 women curators have selected artists for a special International Women’s Day 2023 Art on a Postcard auction, which will raise funds for the Hepatitis C Trust. Who is your curator and how did you get to know them/ get involved with the project?
Venetia Berry: I am so delighted to be a part of this project. The wonderful Mollie Barnes, the creator of She Curates so kindly got me involved. We have both been following each others journeys online for a few years and she interviewed me for She Curates back in 2020. We also have both spent time at Villa Lena in Tuscany, missing one another only by a matter of hours! We have had many cross overs like this but are yet to meet in person. However, I am so grateful to have her championing my work and proposing me for brilliant projects like this. Thank you, Mollie!
Could you tell me a bit about your artistic practice, the materials you use, and your path to becoming an artist?
When I was 19 I did a summer drawing course at Charles H Cecil Studios in Florence, where I fell even more in love with creating artwork. I had a very last minute change of path from studying Politics at Bristol to studying painting at Leith School of Art in Edinburgh. Here I focused predominantly on painting portraits, painting large scale portraits at art school and painting commissioned portraits in my studio. I then moved back to London and studied for a year at the Royal Drawing School. Here my work became more focused on the female form, I was creating a lot of etchings at the time and my work slowly started becoming more abstract. Now, about four years on from leaving RDS my work continues to concentrate on the female form and the celebration of womxn’s bodies. I like to create work where you can feel some kind of essence of femininity – whatever that may mean for whoever is looking at it – as well as creating some kind of ethereal other world within my work. It is important to me to reflect a sense of calm within my work as, for me, painting is a form of meditation and I couldn’t live without it. I work mainly with paint – oil, inks and acrylic, but I also create some ceramics.
Can you explain what you’ve created for AOAP?
I’ve created four works for AOAP. Each work is an ink drawing in Ultramarine ink, they are abstract line drawings based on the female nude. I am always drawn to the colour of Ultramarine as whenever I see it I am transported to the beautiful nudes by Matisse and Yves Klein’s blue. Female nudes have been depicted by artists for years, often the way that they are represented is synonymous to the era they were created in. I love the idea of adding to this tradition and creating an abstract nude for 2023.
Who are the artists that inspire you the most?
I have so many but I do have a few that act as constant inspiration for me. I always love the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse and Lee Krasner.
As a woman artist, have you come across many obstacles that you don’t think a male artist would face?
I tend to surround myself with women in all aspects of my life, particularly in my career. It hasn’t been totally on purpose but I am yet to work closely with a man. So, I think the echo chamber that I live in can sometimes give me a false sense of security, as we are all like minded feminists championing each other. However, when you look at the statistics it is clear that the art world is on the right path, but we still have a long way to go for equality. The obstacles that female artists now face are completely out of our hands as the powers often lie within the art market – so we are quite helpless really! We just need to keep working hard and showing our worth is equal to that of a male artist.
What exhibitions do you have coming up in 2023 that you’re most excited about?
I have a collaboration coming up with a beautiful shirt brand called With Nothing Underneath. Our collaboration will be launching in April and it will coincide with a show of my work up in their store on Elizabeth Street, 19th-30th April.
Bidding is online until 9th March: artonapostcard.com