This exhibition presents works by Madge Gill (1882-1961), an exponent of mediumistic art and one of the foremost British Outsider artists.
Madge Gill believed herself 'possessed' by a spirit she called Myrninerest, under whose power she drew in a trance-like state, creating up to 100 images at a time. Mostly black-and-white ink drawings and embroidered textiles, Gill's works often feature a girl's face or figure surrounded by swirling lines and patterns.
Despite being untutored and having a difficult upbringing (Gill was illegitimate and spent time in several care homes), during the 1930s she exhibited in the Whitechapel Gallery's open exhibition. As Gill never wanted to sell her work, however, she would price it too high for anyone to afford.
Today, she is among Britain's best-known 'Outsider' artists – self-taught artists working outside the mainstream. This show – held not only in the place of Gill's birth but in London's first Borough of Culture, Waltham Forest, and supported by a Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grant with Art Fund – celebrates her life and work, bringing together drawings, vast embroideries and objects. Her 30ft-long multicoloured calico Crucifixion of the Soul will be unrolled, while important loans inlcude many of her postcard works and her last dated drawing, titled Architectural Fantasy.