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10th February 2017

'The Voice Imitator', a series of large-scale monotypes, is the next exhibition to grace the York College Gallery this month. The works are a collaboration by Kate McLeod and James Fisher and are in response to a short story by Thomas Bernhard.


“We were allowed to express our own wishes, which the voice imitator fulfilled most readily. When, however at the very end, we suggested that he imitate his own voice, he said he could not do that” Thomas Bernhard, The Voice Imitator, 1978.

'The Voice Imitator' is a suite of new large-scale monotypes made in collaboration by Kate McLeod and James Fisher. The works are a response to a short story by Thomas Bernhard, in which a voice imitator is invited to demonstrate his skills of impersonating well-known voices. At the culmination of the story, the voice imitator admits is unable to impersonate himself. To McLeod and Fisher this is a useful idea when considering the collaborative process. When artists are making something together, where does one voice end and the other begin? Do artists imitate their own visual voice as they enter into this kind of working relationship?

James Fisher WEB

'The Voice Imitator' monotypes were made in a single weekend using a bespoke woodcut press. McLeod and Fisher rapidly drew on materials and visual language from their individual practices to bring to the collaboration. McLeod, for example, found ways of compelling the clay, familiar in her sculptural work, to operate within a printmaking process. The suite is organised into a series of diptychs, with conversations between silhouetted profiles emerging in these groups of prints. The head is a visual device common to both McLeod and Fisher’s work, but in 'The Voice Imitator' it is adapted, open-mouthed, to foster a new pictorial dialogue.

Kate McLeod WEB

Kate McLeod trained at Goldsmiths College (2001-2004) and the Slade School of Fine Art (2007-2009). In between studying, McLeod spent three years working for Sir Anthony Caro at his studio in London. McLeod’s figurative clay sculptures are improvised and precariously braced; the materials are fragile and perishable meaning the works are ephemeral, the structures temporary. She has exhibited these works around the UK and Europe including: Royal British Society of Sculptors, Postbox Gallery, Andipa Gallery and NGCA. In 2012 she was awarded the Brian Mercer Bronze Residency, Pietrasanta, Italy.

James Fisher trained at the Royal College of Art (1995–1997) and was a recipient of an Abbey Scholarship in Painting at the British School at Rome in 2001. He was awarded a PhD in Fine Art at the University of Gloucestershire in 2009 following a series of exhibitions that explored relationships between painting, music and text. Fisher’s paintings have been described as ghost machines, assemblages of materials producing spectral and inhuman encounters. His recent exhibitions include Doppelgänger at the Eagle Gallery, London, and Towards Night at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. Fisher’s work is held in many private collections in the UK and Europe and public collections include FIL Plc, London; the Jerwood Foundation, Hastings and the Hive, Worcester.

'The Voice Imitator' exhibition will run between 11th February 2017 and 16th March 2017 in the York College Gallery.

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