Jill Gibbon's latest original screenprints are a natural progression from her sketchbook drawings. Jill is attempting to take on the military-industrial complex by drawing it. As she says “A discrete network of alliances between arms corporations and governments, the military-industrial complex is difficult to pin down. It is most visible at arms fairs but here it is veiled behind polite rituals of business”. Jill gets access to these events by describing herself as a war artist, under the pretext of sketching tanks for paintings. But once inside, instead of sketching, she caricatures the handshakes, illicit liaisons and sweeteners in an attempt to get behind the polite facade.
At a recent talk by Gerald Laing he commented “I met a woman at another anti-war exhibition called Jill Gibbon, who I also admire. I don't know if any of you have come across her but she's made it her task to go to arms fairs and draw the grotesque excess of sexuality which is used to sell the weapons, often to third world countries who will then use them on their unequipped population, by the arms merchants.
She started by going in with a folded strip of paper and drawing surreptitiously and was repeatedly thrown out. Then she bought one share in British Aerospace so she was allowed in but then they would still chuck her out because she was an artist. Then she said she was a war artist and then the guards would come over and look over her shoulder and say ‘can't you draw that tank a bit better?’ which I think is quite funny. Anyway, there's somebody battling away and I want us to see her move into painting. Her drawing is looking very like the drawings of George Grosz (1893–1959) because it's a similar situation.”
Her drawings have been exhibited in London, Dallas, and are in the permanent collection of the Imperial War Museum.