Joan Ainley

Wirksworth, Derbyshire



Selected Solo exhibitions
2012 ‘they fly by night’, New Court Gallery, Repton
2010 The Eye of Time Rewrites History, Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donington


2013 Global Drawing (Collaborative pilgrimage project), Various sites worldwide since 2002, Various: Europe, Africa, India, USA etc.


Competitions, prizes and awards
2008 Kerameikon, International Postmodern Ceramics Festival, Varazdin, Croatia


Site specific
2007 Cross of Lorraine, Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire
2005 Ligne de Demarcation, Descartes, Loire Valley, France


1999 Grid Reference:Recorded Delivery (with Rodger Brown), Frankfurt International Book Fair, Frankfurt

Artist Statement

Joan Ainley has been described as an enigmatic artist whose practice includes installations, editions, multiples and unique pieces. These are exemplified by their capacity for multi-layered readings. One of her particular interests is with the permanence of the apparently ephemeral and the use of camouflage not to conceal but as an agent to focus attention. Making connections and linking the past, present and future are central to her work in which leitmotifs include peace, pilgrimage, recollection and memory, both public and personal. Clearly defined characteristics of this practice are the integrity and elegance of its deceptive simplicity. The work has the capacity to engage the viewer’s attention with issues of truth and perception. It acts as a catalyst to focus thought and reflection.


SEARCH: RECALL REFLECT REMEMBER a series of exhibitions, installations and editions made to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of peace at the end of WW2. This sequence commenced in Leeds 2004/5 and closed in Berlin 2005/6. It is the beginning of an ongoing body of work covering the period 2005-2014 in a series of installations, exhibitions and publications. (2014 being the 100th and 75th anniversaries of the outbreak of WW1and WW2). The artist book of the same title has been purchased for Tate Britain and Estelle Morris described SEARCH: RECALL REFLECT REMEMBER as both ‘timely and poignant’.


She exhibits widely throughout Britain and abroad. Works are in public and private collections including Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, Tate Britain, the V&A. She was one of six British artists selected for Kerameikon, The International Festival of Postmodern Ceramics, in Varazdin, Croatia (2009). Other recent exhibitions include: ‘Portraits without Pictures, Sound without Noise’, Wallner Gallery, University of Nottingham (2009); ‘Open Books’, Derby Museum & Art Gallery (2009); BABE Bristol Artists Book Event, Arnolfini (2009); ‘Past Present Future’, Déda, Derby (2008); ‘Book to Book’, Leeds City Art Gallery (2008); Extreme Crafts, Vilnius, Lithuania (2007); ‘Cross of Lorraine’, Installation, Southwell Minster (2007). Her ‘Global Drawing Project’ is ongoing.


Guardian Guide, Saturday 30 October 2010
Joan Ainley’s new set of collaged prints, The Eye Of Time Rewrites History, is the second in her ongoing series Portraits Without Pictures, Sound Without Noise. Ainley’s work tends towards the poetic and enigmatic, more obliquely evocative than clearly descriptive. She has a distinct taste for the conjuring of objects that have a unique drawing power but which frustrate any attempt at prosaic interpretation. She goes in for empty frames and blank mirrors, and contraptions that hint at the potential for creative sound rather than producing actual audible music. The raw materials for her collages were sourced from old catalogue illustrations for barbershop supplies, lab equipment and Army & Navy stores. The antiquated engravings excavate the surreal formalities of barely obscured collective memories of railway station clocks, starched collars and cutthroat razors.

Tarpey Gallery, to 4 Dec
Robert Clarke




Own Art

– Is available for UK residents to buy original works of art and craft by living artists

– Allows you to borrow as little as £100 or up to £2,500

– Lets you pay back in 10 monthly interest free instalments

– Can be used as a part payment towards works costing more than £2,500


Tarpey Gallery
77 High Street
Castle Donington
De74 2pq

Opening Times

Thursday – Sunday
10am – 5pm

0777 240 4293

Own Art



Your Cart