Gail Brodholt is a voracious reader, constantly inspired by the written word. Her stunning linocuts — often depicting the London Underground, train stations, and other scenes of transport — obtain their titles from pieces of poetry or prose that have touched her in some way. The poem below, Buses on the Strand, lent its title to one of Gail’s newest linocuts.
The Strand is beautiful with buses,
Fat and majestical in form
Red like tomatoes in their trusses
In August, when the sun is warm.
They cluster in the builded chasm,
Corpulent fruit, a hundred strong,
And now and then a secret spasm
Spurs them a yard or two along.
Scarlet and portly and seraphic,
Contented in the summer’s prime,
They beam among the jumbled traffic,
Patiently ripening with time,
Till, with a final jerk and rumble,
The Strand tomatoes, fat and fair,
Roll past the traffic lights and tumble
Gleefully down Trafalgar Square.
--Buses on the Strand by R. P. Lister
Gail’s work provides an organic melding of word and image, going beyond being simply an illustration of a poem or piece of writing. To Gail, both poems and artworks are ‘like going for a walk’: they could lead to many narratives or discoveries. This upcoming exhibition foregrounds the relationships between poetry, prose, and Gail’s linocuts.
This exhibition coincides with a prestigious project that Gail has been working on with London Transport. She was commissioned to produce prints for two posters to support their initiative ‘Hidden London,’ which aims to open up the secrets of disused parts of the London Underground network. Gail was asked to feature two stations: The Strand / Aldwych station and the Highgate High Level station. Both of these striking posters will be displayed throughout London early 2020.