Vorticism was a British avant-garde movement which was formed in 1914. It's manifesto stated that 'The New Vortex plunges to the heart of the present! We produce a new living abstraction!' and it aimed to 'blast' contemporary art by revolutionising it. Interested in the aesthetic of machines Vorticist paintings were about bold lines, striking contrast and powerful abstract shapes. (In June of this year the Tate will open an exhibition of Vorticist work!)
Contribution to Blast! The Engine
A largely neglected Vorticist artist, Dismorr was one of the 'little lapdogs who wanted to be Lewis's slaves and do everything for him' (Kate Lechmere), there was only one other Lapdog, Helen Saunders. There were only two female Vorticists; as a woman Dismorr's contributions and notoriety are limited. There are a few details which keep repeating in my searches; one is that she once stripped naked in the middle of Oxford Street. This makes me love her a lot.
But it is Dismorr's experience of London which really interests me. In a small vignette called June Night she writes of a bus journey with a man called Rodengo who is 'too conspicuous for daylight'. Dismorr escapes the 'unmannerly throbbing vehicle' of the bus to 'take refuge in mews and by-ways'. Her experience of this sudden night-time freedom in the streets is exciting and surreal;
'I wander in the precincts stately urban houses. Moonlight carves them in purity. The presence of these great and rectangular personalities is a medicine. They are the children of collossal restraint, they are the last words of prose. (Poetics your day is over!) In admiring them I have put myself on the side of all the severities. I seek the profoundest teaching of the inanimate. I feel the emotion of related shapes. Oh, discipline of ordered pilasters and porticoes.'
Abstract Composition, 1915
I know that she made contributions to Blast! magazine, and to Axis and Rhythm magazine. I also know that I am not the only person interested in her, but I can count the others on my hand. The first is a man named Quentin Stevenson who is writing a biography of her (which has not yet emerged). The second, Catherine Heathcock who wrote an unpublished PHD thesis on her and has the holy grail, the catalogue of all her work, (my supervisor wants me to write my own catalogue but as an undergraduate I am floundering). And finally, a journalist named Mark Archer, who is the only reason I know about any of these other people because he has made his own desperate pilgrimage for knowledge about Dismorr and has covered all of the tracks that I must now cover. My only problem is that I don't know any magical tricks for finding the email addresses of biographers, former PHD students at unidentified universities and journalists at the FT. So in part this is a kind of appeal, for help!
Here is a brilliant article, and the most information you will find written about Dismorr on the entire internet.