Dundee Contemporary Arts brings Sister Corita Kent's inspiring work to Scotland

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Dundee Contemporary Arts brings Sister Corita Kent's inspiring work to Scotland
Sister Corita Kent, people like us yes, 1965. Serigraph. Photo: Joshua White.

DUNDEE.- DCA is presenting an exhibition of works by Sister Corita Kent (1918 - 1986) alongside works by five contemporary artists inspired by her printmaking and life-affirming teaching: Peter Davies, Ruth Ewan, Emily Floyd, Scott Myles and Ciara Phillips.

There Will Be New Rules Next Week brings together the largest selection of Sister Corita Kent’s works ever seen in Scotland. More than 30 serigraphs cover the length of her career, from the 1960s to the 1980s. Colourful printed cardboard boxes inspired by Corita’s practice form a large installation in the gallery, and a selection of short films, posters, prints and books set her work in context.

Born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Sister Corita Kent was an artist, illustrator teacher and nun who worked in Los Angeles and Boston. She was also one of the most innovative and unusual pop artists of the 1960s. A political and religious rebel, she organised nuns and students to make ambitious installations, processions and banners, revolutionised graphic design and encouraged the creativity of thousands of people. Corita’s art reflects her spirituality, her commitment to social justice and her delight in the world around us. Her prints combine slogans and poetry and are now recognised as some of the most striking and joyful American art of her time.

Sister Corita Kent was an inspirational figure who counted Alfred Hitchcock, John Cage and Charles and Ray Eames among her friends. Her work continues to influence contemporary artists, five of whom have produced work for this exhibition. Peter Davies (born Edinburgh 1971) exhibits two large-scale paintings referencing her work. One acknowledges her approach to typesetting, while the other incorporates posters for sub-cultural events and church attendance, subverting the intentions of both.

Nae Sums, first exhibited by Ruth Ewan (born Aberdeen 1980) at her solo show Brank & Heckle at DCA in 2011, references the 1911 school strikes in Dundee. A second work reproduces a quotation from the 17th century Quaker Edward Burroughs using a typeface created by a group of Scottish schoolchildren in a workshop with the artist. Scott Myles (born Dundee 1975) also re-exhibits work from a solo show at DCA: GOOD ACTS WANTED uses a vivid, fluorescent orange that could easily come from the day-glo world of advertising that Corita often commandeered. In the company of her work the piece takes on new, spiritual associations, with hints of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Australian artist Emily Floyd (born Melbourne 1972) is fascinated by design, typography, protest, public art and the legacy of modernism. She is undertaking a month-long residency at DCA as part of the Scottish Print Network Commonwealth Project, during which she will produce new work for the exhibition. Ciara Phillips (born Ottawa 1976) is a Glasgow-based artist who has referenced Corita in previous work and showed alongside her last year at Spike Island in Bristol. She also produced new work in DCA Print Studio, as well as taking part in Poster Club, a collaborative project in which she and five other artists will produce work in public at DCA from Wed 28 – Sat 31 August.

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