Lipstick traces is a new exhibition being held at the Round Tower by Roo Abrook and Winnie May. Having loved both artist’s styles and exhibitions individually, I am really excited to see this new series of art.
I managed to interview Roo and Donna ahead of the exhibition and ask why these two artists wanted to come together and collaborate.
Why did you want to do an exhibition together?
Roo We have worked together previously on a project based in Charter School Academy producing large murals within a beautiful new build, it was an extensive project and we just clicked….. we were both on the same page with ideas and also how we worked together, it was so much fun.
Donna Roo and I have known each other for years but only started working together last year when we were commissioned to paint a new build for Portsmouth City Architects. We just got on so well artistically as well as having a great time that we wanted to explore some of our ideas that began from than experience.
What are you hoping to achieve with this exhibition?
Roo To make a series of works that are very different for each of us but still with the essence of both our styles. We wanted to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and produce work we wouldn’t necessarily make working as an artist alone.
Donna A coming together, as we all know that’s been a while coming! Roo and I share the same music and art influences from our teenage years. We wanted to re-imagine those early influences and bring them into our work. We wanted to play.
How is this different from what you have worked on before?
Roo We have been looking at the music culture of our teen years, post-punk fanzines, and art, so those things are obviously within us being constantly around us in our formative years but we have really delved into those times within our lives.
Donna All of the work is collaborative. We dabbled with that for the show in Chapel Arts Cheltenham last year but each piece looked either very Roo or very Winniemmay. This time we have pushed that much further. We created and destroyed each other’s work. It was a very liberating and exciting process.
You both have a reputation for producing art with really strong women faces do you feel that resonates with both of you and why this project of Lipstick Traces works so well?
Roo Yes, we both celebrate strong women within our work and continue this within this series of new works. The ‘Lipstick’ portraits are edgy and excel a powerful energy. Maybe it’s the times we’ve been going through, having to pull all our energy and strengths together.
Donna I think our work are strong images rather than strong women. I do paint an image and kind of surprised myself of where this fierce or vulnerable face has come from sometimes.
What do you have coming up in the future?
Roo I actually have another show on at the same time (will be open for three weeks) at the Turner Arts Perspective which is an amazing gallery that sells many of my favourite artist’s work. I will be working on new pieces for The Corner Collective in Southsea, have commissions in line, and some new interior wall projects coming up.
Donna This is my last show for a while as I’m about to enter into my last year of my Masters at Central St Martins. So it’s going to be a busy one as I work towards my final show. Again, new ways of working are emerging from that. It still blows my mind that I’m there. I adore how it is unravelling me as an artist.
Who has influenced your art style this year?
Roo I have produced a set of works called ‘Peekaboo’ which was about peeping out into the world when we could go out and socialise again so I guess the pandemic has in a way.
Donna Arggh where to begin. A constant for me is Robert Rauschenburg.
What was the last art exhibition you attended?
Roo Well, it’ll be The Grateful Arts Club as that was yesterday, I haven’t been to any shows in London but I know Donna has.
Donna Rodin at Tate Modern. Went twice!
Favourite thing you have bought this year? (Can be for the house, a plant, or artwork or a postcard, anything really)
Roo I’ve bought some gorgeous antique papers for my work recently and think my fave piece for the home is a beaded tassel that I hang around a picture.
Donna My laptop. I’m shocking with tech and this has changed my life and studying, with a lot of help and patience from my partner it has to be said.
You can Join Roo and Winnie May at the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth
FRI – 24th Sep – 5pm-7pm
SAT – 25th Sep 10am – 4pm
SUN – 26th Sep 10am – 4pm