1. An overview of Elaine Shemilt’s early video artworks
Elaine Shemilt is a world renowned print maker. Her works, including her prints and engravings, have been shown internationally and documented in exhibition catalogues and books.
Nonetheless, little is known about her experimentation and work in the realm of artist’s video and film of the Seventies and early Eighties. This is partially due to the fact that the artist destroyed her video and film works before moving to Scotland in 1984 but it can be seen as part of a more general marginalization of the work of women in the history of artists’ video.
The analysis contained in this article is supported by a literary review of existing critical writings, and artists’ documents and interviews collected during the AHRC funded research project ‘EWVA European Women’s Video Art from the 70s and 80s’.
At the time, several women artists perceived video «as an obvious medium with which to dismantle stereotypical representation and assert the political, psychic and aesthetic evolution of women’s newly raised consciousness».
Commenting on this feminist approach to video, Shemilt explains that «video offered the possibility of addressing new scales and contexts at a time when artists were recognising social change and they were also trying to break down barriers within the disciplines of making art e.g. sculpture and painting».