Born in 1974 in Elgin, Scotland, Georgia Russell studied Fine art at Aberdeen University and the Royal College of Art, and is a visiting lecturer at universities and art schools.
My assistant Cécile Menon saw her work at London's England & Co gallery in 2002, and brought home the catalogue. Five years later, understandably trepidatious, she showed me a few of its images. I had never seen anything like them, but I had the sense to say yes instead of no.
Georgia Russell's work with books and ephemera began in Paris while she was still at the Royal College of Art. She uses a scalpel instead of a brush or pen, and works with patient dedication to make her constructions of cut paper. Her chosen materials are transformed, sometimes with flamboyant colour and wild cutting, sometimes with discreet play on the subject or title of her printed materials.
For Georgia Russell, cut-out traceries with their accompanying shadows function as 'membranes of memories'. Sometimes looking as if they have been disturbed by a breeze or a slight earth tremor, they represent 'our fading recollections of a time, person or place'. For me, a normally sceptical observer, they look like just about the most attractive way possible of vandalising a book. For once the idea of putting a brave face on defacement seems well justified. I can see how it would all take hours to do, but the first thing I see is a strange and unsettling beauty which hits me right where I live: in my library.
Since 2002, Georgia Russell has been represented by England & Co, and the gallery has held three solo exhibitions of her work. She exhibited recent work at the gallery in October-November 2007 in 'Re:formed', with two other gallery artists. Her public art commissions include 'Uncover-Discover' for the new Jubilee Library in Brighton. Two of her works have been acquired from England & Co by the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Images: courtesy of England & Co gallery