From "The Wear and Tear of Conversation"
Charlotte Harker is an artist and writer based in London. Her recent series of work has been made in a print studio with Shadwell Printmakers, London. Her drypoint prints which include portraits, architecture and trees are an extension of her drawing and painting based art practice. In 2017 she was the inaugural Artist in Residence at the William Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner, supported by a grant from Arts Council, England. She is currently 2018/19 Artist in Residence at Victoria Park, London supported by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Victoria Park and Chisenhale Studios London. Her writing is included in the 2017 and 2018 Poetry Anthologies published by Dempsey and Windle.
"The Wear and Tear of Conversation"
by Charlotte Harker
W15cm x H 21cm
30 poems and 44 drawings by Charlotte Harker
Her illustrated book The Wear and Tear of Conversation has extended her practice by combining her drawing and writing. In 2015 a series of her drawings was included in a book titled ‘Nowheres’, a collaborative project with the poet Tamar Yoseloff. This work was exhibited at the Poetry Society and also the Barbican Centre in 2015. In 2014, for her project and solo exhibition, ‘Species of Trees and Other Landscapes’ she was awarded a grant from Arts Council England.
In 2012 she was awarded a residency at the Cill Rialaig Project in Ballinskelligs, County Kerry, Ireland. In 2009 Arts Council England awarded a grant to support research into the work of 19th Century Landscape painter, Peter De Wint, at The Collection and Usher Gallery, Lincoln. Prior to that she was awarded a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 2007. She has also been shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize.
As well as exhibiting across the U.K. including at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Barbican Centre and the Jerwood Space, London, she has been in group shows in Europe, U.S.A. and Australia. Her work is in both public and private collections, including the collection of the British Psychotherapy Foundation, London, Kentish Town Health Centre, London, Bruce Castle, London and Queen Elizabeth’s School.
‘Charlotte's poetry takes me to a parallel world that is so much more interesting than the real one.
Her poems explore an absurd yet strangely plausible almost-reality.’
– Phil Lawder, Author
Giving voice to the unnoticed
A review by Carla Scarano (first published in "Write Out Loud" (webzine)
Two engrossing collections from Dempsey and Windle highlight alternative visions, parallel realities in the views of two poets who represent the so-called side-lined categories. They they each explore an alternative to conventional “normality”: mental health issues in Ayelet McKenzie’s Messages Written on Envelope Backs, and Charlotte Harker, a transgender woman, dealing with depression and self-identity.
Charlotte Harker’s The Wear and Tear of Conversation is an ironic and humorous account of the interactions between the self and its surroundings. She observes and depicts objects in limited interiors and explores language in relation to the referent, pointing out the equivocal and hilarious connections between ‘inanimate objects’ and words, using an almost animistic perspective. Each poem is related to a picture by the author, which explains the written text in a figurative simple way. This engages the reader in an intriguing double vision: realistic in the pictures, surreal in the poems.
Food has a symbolic quality, conciliatory in ‘Punch-up in a Cake Shop’, where her neighbours’ argument is solved reaching ‘for some cupcakes’. It acquires a subtler, unexpected significance in ‘It’s Not About the Fishcakes’:
it’s not about the fishcakes,
but that there are
below the surface
troubling your identity.
Harker takes up the theme of holidays in some of the poems, adopting an unpredictable angle on the idea having a break:
I’ve booked a week
in a part of my bed-sit
I’ve never explored.
in a five star corner of my room.
Passport up to date,
I will need to negotiate
the border at the end of the bed,
then it’s the long journey
across the carpet to my destination,
for a week of bliss and rest.