Joanna Kirk. 'Afghanistan/Ireland', 2010

Pastel on paper on board, 48" x 84¼" (1,22m x 2,14m).

Joanna Kirk (b. 1963) studied at Goldsmiths College, London and has exhibited widely. Her work is found in various private and public collections including the Murderme Collection (Damien Hirst), Saatchi Collection, Arts Council of Great Britain, Scottish Equitable, Contemporary Art Society, and Nordstern Insurance Company.

She is one of very few contemporary artists who work in pastel and her work, like this present landscape, is often on a very large scale. This work is part of a small group of similar landscapes, but is not simply a depiction of the natural world. The layers of detail reveal, on closer viewing, a small human presence - always one or both of her own children, partially concealed, giving a personal, biographical element to the works, the children clearly younger in some, older in others. This personal element is also evident in the curious titles of these large landscapes, which do not seem obviously related to the countries mentioned; they refer in fact to the places where her husband, a war correspondent and film maker, was during the time they were produced, and also give a sense of the time they took to make.

A catalogue of some of her work, Joanna Kirk, was published in 2009 by Damien Hirst. It includes illustrations of some of the pastels in his collection and an interview with Joanna Kirk by Rachel Cusk.


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