Drawing a Diary
Life Writing and Intimate Publics
7th Biennial International Conference Auto/Biography Association Conference at University of Sussex
Monday 28 June - Thursday 1 July 2010
Curator: Sarah Lightman
Artists: Sarah Lightman, Isabelle Greenberg, Phillip Marsden, James Nash, and Steve White
Essay: Dr. Kylie Cardell.
Particularly in the form of the graphic memoir, visual autobiography has been gaining prominence in recent years. Art Spiegelman’s Maus series (1993), a comic strip rendition of his father’s holocaust survival that also documents and reflects on a fraught father-son relationship, is perhaps one of the most well-known, and one of the most well-loved, of this form. In the twenty-first century, the genre has experienced something of a boom; the success of graphic memoir like Craig Thompson’s coming-of-age tale Blankets (2003), Marjane Satrapi’s tale of Iranian girlhood Persepolis (2004), or Dykes to Watch Out For cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s unique memoir Fun Home (2007) demonstrates something of the popularity and reach of the graphic memoir form and has provided much recent interest for scholars in the field. However, while graphic memoir is fast becoming the most recognised in this genre, it is not the only form in which visual autobiographical representation has been embraced by contemporary life writers.
This exhibition showcases the work of five UK based artists, Isabel Greenberg, Sarah Lightman, Phillip Marsden, James Nash, and Steve White as examples of diary drawing — autobiographical vignettes that engage with ephemera from the artist’s daily experience. The exhibition will be introduced by Dr Kylie Cardell, who will consider the relation of form and function in these works by asking: what is the significance of these drawings as handmade and pencil sketched? How do diary drawings intersect with expectations and assumptions of the diary form in general?