Incisive Letterwork focuses on large scale architectural inscriptions and word sculpture. We are committed to our great loves which are materials, particularly but not exclusively stone, letters and text. We are interested in every aspect of letterform. Sometimes we use it in a straightforward informative manner as for example in the stones for the National Portrait Gallerys Ondaatje Wing. We always design letters and text specifically for each site. In the NPGs case although the layouts are formal the use of capital letters for the text and lower case letters for the names is an unusual juxtaposition reflecting the human scale of the works in the museum. We sometimes move into more sculptural, abstract or decorative forms of text as reflected in the fascia stones for Oldham Museum. We are interested in using historical scripts in a contemporary way, see Inceptis Gravibus which uses Roman Square capitals of the fourth century complemented by smaller flourished and gilded letters. Some of our preoccupations are to do with the possibilities of abstraction, geometry and the limitations of legibility "what is there and what is not there and why" as illustrated by Presence and Absence. Lettering has many aspects and it is because of this ubiquity (in print, TV & film, graphics, signage and so on) that one sometimes feels it has almost become invisible. Through words and their physical manifestation Incisive Letterwork aims to encourage people to look, look again and to think and dream. We hope our work is both inspirational and aspirational.
Incisive Letterwork was formed in 1988 by Brenda Berman and Annet Stirling. They first met at the City and Guilds of London Art School where they studied lettering with Berthold Wolpe. Brenda Berman had previously trained as a painter at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, Annet Stirling as a graphic designer at AKI Enschede, Netherlands.
In 1996 they were awarded a Churchill Fellowship and travelled to Italy studying Roman and Renaissance inscriptions and looking at marble.
They have taken part in all major lettering exhibitions and had two solo shows: The Ground Beneath Our Feet in 2000/2001 and Heavens above in 2005.
They are founder members of Letter Exchange, Annet Stirling was chairman of the organisation 1994-1997 and is currently its treasurer
Notable clients include: Baden State Library Karlsruhe, British Museum, Dolby, Eastman Dental Hospital, Esso, Exeter Cathedral, Garrards, Glaxo-Wellcome, Granada with LDC, Hitachi, Houses of Parliament, Kunsthalle Hamburg, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Oldham Museum, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Opera House, Said Business School Oxford.
For further details please visit their website.
- 2011 Bucks Open Studios anually since 2007, Incisive Letterwork Studio, Amersham HP7 9AD
- 2005 Heavens Above, Morley Gallery, London
- 2001 The Ground Beneath Our Feet, Vardy Art Gallery, Sunderland
- 2000 The Ground Beneath Our Feet, Morley Gallery, London
- 2012 Art & Language (part of Evolution: Frink and the next generation), Atrium Gallery, Bournemouth University
- 2012 2012 Drawing Biennial, One Church Street Gallery, Great Missenden
- 2012 Words Set Free, Free Word Centre, Farringdon London
- 2012 The World's Wife, Obsidian Art, Stoke Mandeville
- 2012 All that Glisters, Oxo Gallery, then travelling, London, Sunderland and Bath
- 2011 Signs for Sounds, Devon Guild of Craftsmen and others, Bovey Tacey, then travelling
- 2010 Grammar and Heather, Beetroot Tree Gallery, Draycott DE72 3PP
- 2009 Art & Memory, West Dean Gardens, West Dean nr. Chichester
- 2008 Living Language, East Gallery, Stratford - London
- 2008 Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames, Henley-on-Thames
- 2007 Henley Festival, Henley Regatta, Henley-on-Thames
- 2005 The StandingStone, Wolseley Fine Arts, London
- 2004 Living Letters CLAS, Prince's Foundation, London and touring
- 2003 LetterExchange 15th Anniversary, The Prince's Foundation, London
- 2003 Presence and Absence, Crawford Arts Centre, St. Andrews (and touring)
- 2002 Stone Words, Needham Gallery, London
- 2000 Views Across the Lake, Blickling Hall, Norfolk
- 1999 The Pleasure of Influence, sculpture in the garden, Deans Court, Wimborne
- 1998 The Art of Remembering, Blickling Hall, Norfolk
- 1998 Letter Exchange 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Morley Gallery, London
- 1997 A Different Approach, Richmond Borough Art Collection
- 1997 Literary Quotations, Wolseley Fine Art
- 1996 Individual Characters, Southern Arts Touring Exhibition
- 1996 Words Revealed, MAC, Birmingham
- 1995 Codes and Messages, Crafts Council
- 1995 Pure and Political, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, for Ian Hamilton Finlay
- 1994 The Art of Embellishment, Butlers Wharf, London
- 1994 Letters of the Alphabet, Cork Street Gallery, London
- 2005 Portico carving, donor stones and various carved lettering, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square London