Join us on the 8th of June for a celebration of the book launch for
_Balkan Fabrications_ from St Andrews University, Art History Senior
Lecturer, Dr. Jeremy Howard.
Taking as its departure point the painting Serbian Women by Fra
Newbery, who, as Director of the Glasgow School of Art, had sown the
seeds for the internationally acclaimed Scottish modern movement,
_Balkan Fabrications_ explores the nature and place of Newbery’s
move to Balkan subjects in the 1920s. In so doing it simultaneously
focuses on the work of his wife, Jessie Newbery, the first head of
embroidery at Glasgow, whose interest in Balkan textiles proved an
inspiration for her husband’s painterly experiments. Through probing
the Newberys’ interpretations of folk crafts and conventions of
southeastern Europe, the book considers what they have to say about
notions of art, life, womanhood and modernity.
By highlighting political motivations as well as artistic responses
Howard weaves a tale of diverse, sometimes conflicting, ideas and
values with wide-reaching ramifications. Parallels and alternatives to
the Newberys’ creative expression of concern for the observed Balkan
designs and customs are revealed through a survey of work by other
under-appreciated artists. While most of these happen to be British
and female, their art is examined alongside that of several from the
peninsula who convey counterpart constructions of Balkan identity. The
result is Balkan Fabrications.