Jo Roberts

Jo is a visual artist who calls herself a ‘Commentariographer’, a word last used in 1576. Its definition is: “someone who writes, mediates, ponders, portrays or records, one who comments on current events and produces an expository treatise.” Shecomments on people, places and their interaction, and then graphs her findings in the most appropriate manner. She is curious and inquisitive about the minutiae of everyday life.

Her life journey and the path it takes endlessly fascinates her; she investigates and records the things she discovers; mapping these in a variety of ways, drawing being fundamental to her practice. This is project based, and she works in a very organic manner. She is passionate about creativity; using hers and helping others to access theirs. From this follows a deep desire to communicate to others, which is achieved through exhibitions, talks, broadcasting and consultation.

Since gaining her M.A. in Fine Art in 1996 from Birmingham City University’s School of Art, Margaret Street, she has exhibited widely, building up a substantial portfolio of organisations and clients, and being the recipient of numerous awards.

Quirky describes her and what she is attracted to.


Field Studies

Saturday 16th October – Tuesday 21st December 2010

This exhibition was one of the results of a three month artist residency here at Timespan.

A ‘Field Study’ is a piece of research carried out on location, often in a natural environment or amongst the public. During Jo’s time with us, her ‘Field Study’ has been to work with four communities across Sutherland – Kinlochbervie, Kinbrace, Skerray and Helmsdale – on mapping the creative geology of Northern Scotland and asking us all, ‘Who are we?’

Field Studies by Jo Roberts from Timespan on Vimeo.

Just like the rocks around us we are made up of many layers – experiences, memories, skills and ideas. Jo worked closely with members of the Timespan organisation and these various communities, asking individuals of all ages to fill a small cardboard box with their ‘creative geology’. Each box contains a story or selection of objects individual to the person who made it, containing much thought and provoking much discussion. Jo is passionate about creativity, using hers to encourage others to find theirs. This exhibition was a celebration of this fascinating process and we thank everyone who took part and those who have helped them.

The boxes after this venue will go on their own journey, touring to different parts of Sutherland.

Jo Roberts’ work is a celebration of the people, places and events that she encounters. Jo works in the manner of a modern day Victorian explorer – observing, recording and collecting experiences. While drawing is the bedrock of her practice, she is continuously exploring other methods of communicating, using whatever means is appropriate to convey what she has to say about people, places and their interaction. This project was made possible through the support of The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and European Community Highland LEADER 2007-2013 Programme.