Work selected for MMoFA

Jo Howe book sculpture distortion-of-time-detail
Distortion of time (detail) – Museum collection, Madison Museum of Fine Art

I am thrilled and absolutely delighted to announce that I have been fortunate enough to have had a piece of work (Distortion of time) selected for the permanent collection at Madison Museum of Fine Art, in  Madison, Georgia, U.S.A.

The work will also be exhibited as part of a group show next year, entitled ‘British Intelligence’ at the Museum, showcasing their growing collection from British Artists.

A little about MMoFA

Founded in 2003 by Michele Bechtell, the Madison Museum of Fine Art (MMoFA) is a 501-c-3 tax exempt charitable not-for-profit educational art history museum with exhibition galleries, teaching gardens, Museum Store, and Tea Terrace. A collecting institution, MMoFA  preserves, interprets, and imaginatively displays original works of art by nationally and internationally recognized visual art masters in a lively, intimate, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere for the education, edification, and spiritual nourishment of all persons living and traveling in the Southeastern US. As an educational institution, the Museum offers free permanent and traveling exhibitions, lectures, film, educational programming, and an extra classroom setting to study original objects to supplement the inter-disciplinary curricula of public, private, and home schools in the region.


The vision of MMoFA is to be a superbly operated internationally respected intimate visual art history museum system with a distinguished permanent collection, self-sustaining endowment, habitual visitation, engaging and well-attended educational programs, and to do so with sufficient institutional strength to delight many generations to come.

Gallery updated

Finally got round to it… the gallery is updated and includes work currently being shown at Parndon Mill gallery, ‘Nothingness‘.

Self fulfilling prophecy
Self fulfilling prophecy

This must mean I am at that stage of developing new work.

Very excited to be back in the studio.


Nothingness – New group exhibition at Parndon Mill, Harlow

‘Nothingness’ includes the work of five artists with links to Digswell Arts: Hideki Arichi, Ella Carty, Jo Howe, Alex McIntyre and William White. These artists respond to the theme of nothingness using a variety of media: Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture and Drawing. Originally inspired by an edition of ‘Start the Week’, a BBC R4 programme in which the idea of ‘nothingness’ was examined from different perspectives, these artists bring their own creative insight to the subject.

For Alex McIntyre ‘nothingness’ is a leap of faith; the emptiness into which inspiration rushes. Nothingness is difficult to comprehend because the very act of considering it changes it. It is glimpsed at the periphery of consciousness: both before and after, ecstasy and grief. For this exhibition Alex is producing drawings that question human states of being.

Ella Carty’s work is a personal exploration of the existential state of ‘nothingness’. Her paintings of landscapes evoke a sense of both isolation and stillness. There is a sense in which these empty and seductive landscapes are both intriguing and unsettling. Her use of colour and its capacity to entice emotion is striking. Ella says ‘I wanted to convey a sense of unreality as well as detachment, to communicate a sense of how it feels to be in a state of nothingness.’

Jo Howe explores the notion of ‘nothingess’ by exploring emotional responses to ‘the space in-between’. Jo’s practice focuses on the frustrations of human communication working with old manuscripts that bear the physical imperfections and aromas of past human handling and thus retain elements of their human presence. The book or page becomes a tool for looking inwards to our evolving personal narratives rather than the read contents of the book as text.

William White is a printmaker based in Cornwall. His take on ‘nothingness’ is a study of the satellite dishes at Goonhilly on the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall, which are currently in the process of being recommissioned. Goonhilly is a cluster of satellite dishes known for receiving the first ever Trans-Atlantic satellite TV images, broadcast by Telstar in1962. These gigantic structures, seemingly staring at nothing were perfect inspiration for the title ‘nothingness’.

Hideki Arichi is a British born Japanese artist. He is approaching the idea of ‘nothingness’ by reading Eastern philosophical interpretations found in Zen Buddhism and by identifying personal reactions and indicators to these. The work includes paintings, drawings and prints.

Private View – Sunday 10th August 2pm – 4pm all welcome. Map here. Other times please check gallery for opening times

Nothingness poster final

New work – furthering unexpected process – Nothingness?

I have been beavering away in the studio working towards my next exhibition, a group show, Nothingness, to be shown at the beautiful Parndon Mill Gallery in Harlow 7th August – 14th September . It is truly a great theme to work on. I have found that my mind is bouncing around all over the place with possibilities.

How does one represent nothing? Does nothing actually exist, if it does, does that not make it something? ok, so slight mischievous glint in my eye here, but you get my point 😉

Wikipedia references it as…

‘Nothing is a pronoun denoting the absence of anything. Nothing is a pronoun associated with nothingness. In nontechnical uses, nothing denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance, or significance. Nothingness is the state of being nothing, the state of nonexistence of anything, or the property of having nothing.’

My approach is examining the notion of ‘nothingess’ by exploring emotional responses to ‘the space in-between’. Still a somewhat untangible description, I know. I am refering to this in two ways really. The ‘space in-between’ can be perceived as empty (though of course isn’t technical so). The emptiness is more a emotional perception rather than a physical reality. This emptiness has darkness and light. The darkness could be considered perhaps a little more readily than the light. After all, the connotations of the word ’emptiness’ are mainly negative in flavour, consider if you will, this list of synonyms: empty, vacant, blank, void, vacuous, bare, barren.

It is challenging the lightness of ‘the space in- between’  that has prompted a most interesting process for me.

I had recently posted about the influence of a particular piece of music by the talented Ludovico Einaudi.  I pondered my difficulty with the visual response of  my physical and written expression of this experience. Rather strangely, I have experimented with painting yet again, to bring this more clearly into view.

Nothingness process
Nothingness process

This work is not going to be shown at the ‘Nothingness’ show, but informs an important part of my working process. I have documented the stages of painting, each layer being photographed and recorded. This documentation I have reflected on, exposes for me the importance of  remaining connected to process. It is my experience of producing this work, the way I have moved my body, the choice of colour, the way this action makes me feel and the quality of marks that has stimulated the next stage of development.

Yes, there is still still a way to go, but very excited to have this record of an important part of the journey.

As a wee aside… when creating this, I had noticed the dust sheet I was using, rather delightfully revealed these characters. Of course they have been there before, but the process is allowing me to see with an open and enquiring mind (if not a little mischievous one at that!).

Thought i’d have a little fun with them… Enjoy!


Nothingness-cartoon Jo Howe
Nothingness cartoon

New work – unexpected inspirations

I am currently working towards a group show, opening in August at Parndon Mill Gallery, Harlow.

The theme of the show, ‘Nothing’.

In exploring what this means for me, the mind has wandered down dark alleys as well as through light port holes.

Whilst experimenting with materials, I had the fabulous Ludovico Einaudi playing in the background, as I often do when in process.

For some reason, I hadn’t really heard this piece, even though I must have heard it a hundred times before. All of a sudden, it literally took my breath away… resonating with what I was exploring, syncing so beautifully to my minds journey.

The difficultly is, I can understand this expression through my physicality, and with some words, but the visual is just that little way out of reach.

So looking forward to the time when I can clearly bring this into view.

For best experience, play loud with eyes shut.

Extraordinary and exciting process!



A sneaky peek… finished today!

A sneaky peek at my latest work, ‘A spoonful of sugar’.

This has been an essential work for me to produce. I have realised it has been an important and cathartic process. It has enabled me to explore and express creatively, the changes and the challenges that have impacted my nearest and dearest over the last year or so. This work also enables my own voice, with the inevitable impact on myself, expressing this can be challenging.

‘A spoonful of sugar’ is broadly about the impact of  Diabetes both on the patients and the family caring for and supporting them.

Want to see more?

Anywhere near Norwich, UK,  May 2nd or 3rd? Why not pop along to Turn the Page 2014. This will be the location of this works first outing!

ASpoonfulOfSugar-detail01 jo Howe Bookart Artist books
A spoonful of sugar – detail

turn the page 2014 is nearly here!

This looks like it will be another exciting, rich and diverse event. I am so looking forward to being part of this again. I will have new work on show, some big, some small but all fabulously bookish!

I hope to see you there.

Photo: turn the page artists' book fair 2014 THIS YEARS POSTER
download the poster, print one out for yourself, or share it with your mailing lists.
Tell the world you're a book artist exhibiting or you're going to a workshop or taking part in the Elbow Room live sessions or most importantly of all YOU are coming along to support our event AND remember when tweeting about it please use #ttp2014bookart thank you :)



New work… Without words

It shouldn’t really come as a complete surprise to me that I would be drawn towards artist books as a medium to explore. I am preparing for the fabulous Turn the Page event again this year, delighted at having been selected to show for the second time. I have been reflecting on how much I enjoyed experiencing the other work on offer last year as well as the very rich and diverse conversations I had with other artists and the public alike. But surprised I am all the same, at the emergence of this particular strand of creative endeavour. I am, for once, not going to venture down the path of over-thinking (one well travelled), but just enjoy this parallel journey, understand the connection to my other work in development and embrace further discoveries.

Here’s a wee taster of what’s to come… they can be viewed in full at Turn the Page 2014, 2nd and 3rd of May at the Forum, Norwich. A great reason to visit this vibrant city.

Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words
Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words interior sample
Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words interior sample
Without words Jo Howe artist book
Without words interior sample


Jo Howe book sculpture echoes-of-fragrant-voices

Interviewed for Hertfordshire Visual Arts

I was most fortunate to be interviewed by the lovely Clare Kendal Bate on behalf of  Hertfordshire Visual Arts. They produce a monthly newsletter, and I am fortunate enough to be chosen as one of their featured artists.

Go to interview

HVA  is run by an enthusiastic voluntary Organising Group, with members from all areas of involvement in the visual arts.

HVA aims to:

  • Provide ways for artists of all disciplines, amateur or professional, to meet and exchange ideas and information.
  • Encourage professionalism and high standards in its members and their dealings with artists’ employers, facilitators, galleries and supporters.
  • Raise awareness of and promote accessibility to the visual arts in Hertfordshire.
  • Lobby for wider opportunities for artists and better facilities for the visual arts.
  • Represent the County’s artists to Local, County, Regional and National bodies.