First published: Fall 2019
With the recent discovery of some remarkable, long-lost embroideries by Madge Gill, the spotlight is back on the self-taught visionary artist
In 2015, Raw Vision published a series of colour photographs, taken in 1947, of one of the greatest exponents of mediumistic art, Madge Gill (1882–1961). One photo shows the artist in her East London home, wearing a dress she has embroidered in wild colours that contrast with the staid Victorian decor around her. In another image, Gill sits surrounded by draped fabrics, all of which she has delicately embroidered, the intricate threads creating a free flowing, hypnotic sea of pattern. All but one of the embroidered works shown in these 1947 photographs have never been seen by the public – until now.
Orphaned as a child, Gill suffered hardship and tragedy in her life and, deeply depressed, used art as a way to express her emotions and establish an identity for herself. Claiming to be channelling the will of her spirit-guide “Myrninerest”, she created prolifically. She wrote, painted and created the numerous, mesmerising ink drawings on paper, calico and postcards for which she is well-known today. She also made the skillfully embroidered rugs, hangings and dresses, many of which subsequently disappeared.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #103