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Judith Burrows in conversation with Anna McNay


Judith Burrows in conversation with Anna McNay

Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, NW1 7AY 

Monday 7 November, 7pm

Free but RSVP essential

When Judith Burrows is scouting for locations in which to shoot the album artwork for folk musicians, she looks for places that relate to the concept and where she feels there is a narrative she can develop, be they urban, rural, coastal or in a studio. This work is her bread and butter, but it also feeds into her life and soul: making mixed media paintings and collages, which develop these stories.

Taking these scenes as her starting points, she builds them up like storyboards, painting in further detail, overlaying negatives, collaging in text, music score, lyrics or contour lines from a map. Some details may be temporary – a piece of graffiti, a painted hoarding, or an eroded coastline. It is these chance presences, however, which combine to create the contingencies of Burrows’ imagination, shared on paper or canvas, offering a multitude of dramatic narratives within a single image.

The characters in these improvised scenarios are random passers-by; anonymous, genderless strangers who resonate with Burrows’ own search for, and sense of herself. They become entangled in the yarn and are repeated, often myriad times, suggesting all possible permutations and outcomes – the “what ifs” of paths that may or may not be trodden.

In conjunction with her exhibition at Cecil Sharp House, Judith Burrows will be in conversation with Anna McNay, author of the essay in the accompanying publication, of which the above text is an excerpt. Amongst other things, they will discuss the fruitful crossover between Burrows’ practices, how she sources her material, the relevance of layering and repetition, and the idea of frames and framing.

About Judith Burrows 

Judith Burrows studied film and photography and received widespread recognition at major film festivals across Britain and abroad, as well as television exposure for her scripted short dramas. Documentaries for the National Portrait Gallery and Capital Radio followed, as well as experimental films funded by the Film Council, which were also screened at festivals worldwide and against the National Theatre’s exterior. Photography complemented the filmmaking. A solo exhibition at the Barbican, and joint show at Westbourne Studios, included her film and photography work. The distance that working behind the lens and on the computer brings, was holding Judith back creatively. She had a strong desire to explore new ways of generating visual ideas. While continuing as a commissioned filmmaker and photographer, she embarked on a two-year art programme to develop her fine art practice. A new body of work developed from this, some of which has been exhibited in group shows. This solo show is a culmination of three years exploring her Narratives of Location.

About Anna McNay

Anna McNay is a freelance art writer and editor. She is Deputy Editor at State Media and former Arts Editor at DIVA magazine. She contributes regularly to Studio International, Photomonitor and The Mail on Sunday and has been widely published in a variety of other print and online art and photography journals and newspapers. She has written numerous catalogue essays.

This event is free, but spaces are very limited, so please RSVP to to reserve your place.