Julia Midgley R.E. Dip. A.D
‘War Art & Surgery’
'War, Art and Surgery' is a reportage drawing project portraying the contribution of surgery to the lives of service personnel, and, documenting the patients’ experience of the rehabilitation process.
Additionally it juxtaposes Julia’s own contemporary reportage artwork representing recovering military personnel today, with surgeon-artist Henry Tonks' stunning pastels of wounded WWI servicemen.
The project will culminate in a 2014 exhibition at The Royal College of Surgeons of England, London, and Durham, at The Light Infantry Museum, Northern England. It will commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 and the part played by military surgery then and now.
Julia has practised as a reportage and documentary artist with a focus on war artists and surgery for several decades. Following a 1999 Artist’s Residency at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust her drawings of 20th Century medicine were exhibited at The Royal College of Surgeons. It was there that she first encountered Henry Tonks’ World War 1 drawn archive of surgeon Harold Gillies’ reconstructive surgery on injured soldiers.
Whilst the military medical services are in constant receipt of requests from artists, photographers and film-makers, this project is highly unusual in being granted approval - the non invasive nature of drawing undoubtedly being a contributory factor.
It is anticipated that over 150 drawings, made on location, will result depicting medical training before deployment; rehabilitation; and recovery following surgery.
They will represent medical teams, surgery, and portraits of patients.
he images include two quite graphic pieces. These show cosmetic injuries applied to individuals in order to provide a facsimile of live injuries for the preparation of military surgeons pre deployment.
Julia Midgleyis a printmaker and artist who specialises in drawing. She has been making documentary drawings for many years. Commissions have included sports venues, factories, film sets & theatres, building sites and all manner of locations.
Julia was the DLA Piper Artist in Residence for the new Art & Design Academy in Liverpool designed by Rick Mather for Liverpool John Moores University. She describes drawing from direct observation as being the bedrock of her working practice and strives to produce a sense of live action work by which to document 21st century life. Her works on paper serve simultaneously as narrative, documentary and archive.
Julia has practised as an Artist/printmaker specialising in drawing and reportage. She is a Reader in Documentary Drawing at Liverpool School Art & Design.
Julia has always tried to fill her drawings with movement whilst using as few marks as possible. She mainly focuses on people and society.
Reportage has led her to work in a huge variety of places and organisations. Commissions invariably take the form of Residencies which can last from one day up to two years.
The first major project was a two year period in the Royal Liverpoool & Broadgreen University Hospital.
Further commissions included residencies at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; Granada Television; Arts Council Art 04 conference.
“Art ’04” Granada Television was also a Year of the Artist project. Julia was attached to Regional News and twice a month accompanied them to outside broadcasts or drew their studio broadcasts.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach was a two year Residency which began in 2000 as part of Year of the Artist.
The Stonehenge Riverside Project was a huge archaeological project - at the time the largest in Europe - which had run for 6 years before 6 artists who specialised in drawing were invited to record and react to the work using drawing. Juliawas embedded for three consecutive Augusts from 2007 - 2009.
More recently she has been making drawings of delegates talking about drawing at drawing conferences!
Over decades of practice julia’s drawings tell of personal journeys. She has drawn a kidney transplant from mother to son; witnessed the excavation of mutilated sacrificial skeletons at Stonehenge; been surrounded by Vikings at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and stood amongst banks of astonished photographers at Bechers Brook waiting for the horses to thunder by. ‘They discussed how many 1000ths of a second exposure would be required whilst I quietly positioned my pencil!'