Michael Ginsborg studied at Ealing, the Central, and Chelsea Schools of Art, graduating in 1969. He has worked extensively in UK art schools and he played a key part at Wimbledon School of Art in starting the MA in Drawing, and the Centre for Drawing, both being the first initiatives of their kind in the UK. In 2003 he stopped working in education in order to devote more time to making work in the studio. He has exhibited widely in the UK and his solo exhibitions include the Lisson Gallery (1969); Serpentine Gallery (1973); Acme Gallery (1980); Benjamin Rhodes Gallery (1986, ’89, 1992, ’93, and ’95), and The Drawing Gallery in 2006. Group exhibitions include The British Art Show (1980); Three Painters, Camden Arts Centre (1986); John Moores Exhibition 18 (1994); British Abstract Art Part 1: Painting, and Part 3: Works on paper, Flowers East (1994 and 1996); International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Florence, Italy (1997); The Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition (2001). Large scale commissioned works include St Charles Hospital, London; The Long Term Credit Bank of Japan; Linklaters Alliance; and Glaxo Wellcome Medicines Research Centre, Stevenage. His work is included in many public, private and corporate collections, including The Government Art Collection; The British Council; The Department of the Environment; The Arts Council Collection; The National Museum of Wales; The Whitworth Gallery; The Graves Art Gallery; St Thomas’ Hospital; St Bartholomew’s Hospital; The National Gallery of Art, Budapest.
Artist's Statement on Process: Among other things
The paintings are made using paper. I work with the primed canvas tacked to the wall. This provides the solid support needed to glue the paper down. When the painting is nearly finished the canvas is removed from the wall and stretched onto a conventional stretcher.
The pieces of paper I use are selected from a collection of images, some found, some made by me, some printed, some painted, some kept in files, some in drawers and boxes, some dating back over twenty years, and some made recently. I either use these images directly, or make inkjet prints from them, and place them on the canvas, often giving them coloured borders or frames. Then I join them up with curved bands of transparent paper, painted with acrylic.
This describes the process as a physical sequence of events but, to just as great an extent, it is a sequence of encounters with meaning.
Both in the storage of, and the selections I make from, my collection of images, I fail to use, or choose not to use, any principle, or system of classification (for example, by colour, date, or type of thing depicted). The purpose of this “anti-organisation” might be, to quote Eva Hesse, that,
“ If I can name the content, then... it’s the total absurdity of life...Absurdity is the key word. It has to do with contradictions and oppositions.”
Maybe it is “contradictions and oppositions” that keep things moving. Images that were lost initially, either by others or by me, are lost all over again even when I decide to keep them. But they are lost in a new way because now they await their rediscovery. Then, printed on acid free paper, glued to canvas with conservation standard acrylic adhesive, and protected with acrylic varnish containing ultra violet light filters and stabilisers, then, and only then are they finally released from the darkness. But paradoxically at this point, though displayed, though given a place, all the potentialities they contained, all their pictorial possibilities, moving and changing, become static.
What is going on here? In relation to my paintings, I have found one of the things that Michael Craig-Martin said about his work in his 1997 Townsend Lecture to be particularly useful and encouraging:
“The paintings are neither hierarchical nor didactic, neither narrative nor allegorical, but all these possibilities are implied. As in life, things both connect and don’t connect.”