Girling, Sheila (9 of 13). National Life Stories: Artists' Lives
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Interviewee's studio, London
Girling, Sheila, 1924-2015 (speaker, female)
Westley, Hester (speaker, female)
Part 9: [00:46:47] Preparations for AC’s Whitechapel exhibition; working with Whitechapel Director, Bryan Robertson; exhibition reception; AC and SG’s confidence; extent of involvement of respective extended families. [0:04:31] SG’s response to transatlantic move; family enjoyment of the two year stay; decision to return to UK; the pleasure in way of life in Vermont; the stimulating artistic social circle; significance of sharing studio practice. [0:08:19] Description of KN’s approach to painting; presence of Larry Poons and Frank Stella; SG’s friendship with Helen Frankenthaler [HF]; description of HF’s painting techniques; CG’s ‘eye’ and critique of artists’ work; SG’s exposure to new painting techniques, cutting and cropping canvas; CG’s involvement in cropping works. [0:12:46] Larry Poons [LP] involvement with sculpture; LP’s technique of ‘throwing paint’; SG’s absorption of this openness to materials; SG’s involvement with KN’s paintings. [0:14:18] Anecdote about family visit to DS’s home; description of Bolton Landing; DS’s attitude to AC; DS’s situation; the geographical distances and potential for loneliness in America. [0:17:33] AC’s teaching commitment at Bennington; AC’s skiing accident; AC’s use of studio assistants; [0:19:30] anecdote about AC’s long term studio manager and assistant Pat Cunningham. Mentions sculptors, Willard Boepple and James Wolfe; SG’s continuing engagement with AC’s sculptural practice. SG’s correspondence with parents; the difficult decision to leave America; the cohesion of artistic circle at that stage with KN and JO. [0:24:02] AC’s involvement with Kasmin Gallery; start up of gallery with Sheridan Dufferin’s input; SG’s opinion of John Kasmin as art dealer; AC’s decision to put artworks in trust for SG and children [0:26:20] Anecdote about visit to NY and encounter with painter Allen Jones. [0:27:53] Attitudes to Pop Art movement then and now; how attitudes change with age; SG’s attitude to pure abstraction and figuration respectively. Feelings upon leaving Bennington. [0:30:43] What SG thinks now about having returned to the UK and why; why environment of Bennington was detrimental to marital stability; the children’s education; the fall outs between artists; AC’s move away from CG’s sphere of influence; extent of CG’s presence in Vermont; CG’s marital breakdown; KN’s marital breakdown; JO’s divorce.[0:35:36] Return to London; decisions over TC’s schooling; reasons for choice of Bryanston School; SG’s experience of sending TC to board; reason for purchase of cottage in Dorset; TC and PC’s mixed experiences of boarding school. [0:39:00] AC resuming work in London; changes to sculptural practice; AC’s studio in Loudon Road; acquiring current studio property in Georgiana Street. SG’s attitude to AC’s studio move; SG’s studio spaces. [0:42:51] Recollections of Whitechapel ‘New Generation’ sculpture show in 1965; importance of AC’s transatlantic connections; AC’s visits to US to work with KN on sculpture; SG’s routines; BH’s involvement as grandmother; SG’s close relationship with AG.