Continuing a month of shows about the work of comic book creators who mix together different cultures and media in their art on Britain’s only comics-focused radio show Panel Borders, Alex Fitch talks to gallery owners Jo David and Rachel House, and artist Ariel Schrag about the exhibition Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women, currently on display at Space Station 65, Kennington, South London.
Also, Graphic Details curator, London based artist and arts journalist Sarah Lightman talks about her work and introduces artists Miriam Katin, women’s comics pioneer Diane Noomin, British comics artist Corinne Pearlman and Ilana Zeffren who describe the examples of their autobiographical strips which are featured in the exhibition.
Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women provides the first in-depth look at a unique and prolific niche of graphic storytelling – Jewish women’s autobiographical comics and is a groundbreaking touring exhibition that originated at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco in October of 2010. The show has enjoyed successful runs at New York’s Yeshiva University Museum and in Toronto, where it was presented at the Gladstone Hotel by the Koffler Centre of the Arts Off-Site Program, Portland’s Oregon Jewish Museum in 2012 an the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery of the Washington, DC JCC. The Forward, the national Jewish newspaper, is official sponsor of Graphic Details.
While the influential role of Jews in cartooning has long been acknowledged, the role of Jewish women in shaping the medium is largely unexplored. This exhibition of original drawings, full comic books and graphic novels, presents the powerful work of eighteen international artists whose intimate, confessional work has influenced the world of comics over the last four decades, creating an entirely new genre.
Spotlighting the raw, revealing voices of Jewish women and their singular presence in graphic storytelling, the exhibition illuminates the intersection of experiences that make these diaristic comics so compelling. By turns funny, outrageous, poignant and embarrassingly intimate, the works in Graphic Details reflect the artists’ individual journeys, refracted through a distinctively Jewish lens in a pop-culture art form. Some bare their bodies. Some expose their psyches. All are fearless about sex, romance, politics, body functions, experiences, emotions, and desires.
Many of the original artworks on display have never been exhibited in public until now. Artists run the gamut from pioneering Wimmen’s Comix and Twisted Sisters artists of the 1970s and 1980s to the superstars of the new generation.
Graphic Details is co-curated by Michael Kaminer, a New York journalist and collector whose December 2008 story on confessional comics in the Forward, the national Jewish newspaper, provided the impetus for the show. His London-based collaborator Sarah Lightman is researching a PhD at The University of Glasgow on autobiography in comics.
• Panel Borders: Graphic Details airs at 11.00am Thursday 20th November, repeated 7.00am Saturday 22nd November 2014, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at www.resonancefm.com / podcast after broadcast at www.panelborders.wordpress.com