Born in 1953, Ghislaine Howard is one of the England’s finest living artists, a painter of powerful and expressive means. Early promise as an artist lead to her taking art classes with Harold Riley before starting her art studies included a foundation course at Manchester Polytechnic. Howard later studied Fine Art at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
The artist is ...best known for her ground-breaking exhibition concerning pregnancy and birth, at Manchester City Art Gallery. The exhibition was called A Shared Experience, and the first of its kind. Her works, using a subdued palette, deal with the human condition, interpreting human experience. Named as a Woman of The Year in 2008 for her contribution to art and society, Ghislaine grew up in the North of England and studied Fine Art at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
She was cast into the limelight in 1993 after her ground-breaking exhibition concerning pregnancy and birth, 'A Shared Experience' - a first of its kind to be shown at Manchester City Art Gallery. The exhibition attracted critical acclaim:
"It is through Howard’s moving embodiment of empathy that she really makes her mark. Her work is so intimately tender in approach it could hardly have been painted by any male at any time anywhere." Robert Clark, The Guardian In 2001 she was granted an Arts Council Year of the Artist Award which allowed her to work in a Women’s Refuge from Domestic Violence, she was also Artist in Residence at the B.B.C. during the year 2000/1.
Over the ensuing years she worked on commissioned projects with various communities including theatres, prisons and cathedrals as well as with major organisations such as Amnesty International.
She has also featured in various publications and television documentaries including Mischa Scorer’s Degas: An Old Man Mad About Art, with Richard Kendall, Omnibus, 1996 and was part of the team that produced Degas and The Dance, in 2004 which has been awarded the prestigious Peabody Award.
For Liverpool’s celebrations as Capital of Culture she completed a major new work – The Empty Tomb – which was unveiled by the Bishop of Liverpool on Easter Sunday 2008 and was on show throughout the year.
In 2013 she was honoured to be the only living artist to feature in The British Museum’s major exhibition “Ice Age Art – the arrival of the modern mind”. The exhibition billed as “40,000 years in the making” looked at the development of art from the Ice age to Picasso.
Ghislaine’s drawing Pregnant Self Portrait July 1987 was at the centre of the British Museum’s ground breaking exhibition, where it was placed alongside 30,000 year old sculptures of pregnant women, some of the earliest representations of the human form.
An important part of Ghislaine's practice is to make daily paintings based on images taken from the news media. Every day since October 2006, Ghislaine Howard has made an 8 x 6 inch painting from a single Guardian news image, "to address the disposability of the terrible but often so beautiful and ambiguous images that arrive daily through the door."
A selection of 365 daily images, was shown at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester in 2009 and more recently a series of 40 of these paintings were shown at Saint Ann’s church as part of the marking of the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack.
Her '365 series' reflects her experience on 7 July 2005, when like so many others, the artist was caught up in the chaos and anxiety of the London bombings. On returning to her studio, Howard felt compelled to work through the experience in paint. Reading about the day in her daily paper, the artist was struck by photographs in which the familiar streets of London had become the backdrop to horror and was compelled to respond through her practice. A painter of powerful and expressive means, Howards works deal with the human condition and reminds us of shared human experience.
Howard has also worked on commissioned projects with various diverse communities including theatres, prisons, the BBC, Women’s Refuges and cathedrals as well as with major organisations such as Amnesty International. The artists career is truly astonishing as she established herself as a leading name in contemporary art.
She is represented in many public and private collections including The Royal Collection, Manchester City Art Gallery, Whitworth Art Gallery, Salford City Art Gallery and Oxford University.
More artwork from her extensive collection is always available on request.