26 JUN – 1 OCT 2014
COLLYER BRISTOW GALLERY
Curated by Day+Gluckman
Artists: Malina Busch, Dexter Dymoke, Henry Hussey,Bruce Ingram, Sara Impey, Lauren Kelly, Nigel Massey, Liz Rideal
BANNER IMAGE: Liz Rideal
Artists have wrapped, knitted and woven for centuries but the use of ‘fabric’ as a medium is going through an interesting resurgence at the moment.Global demand for cheap clothing and huge technological advancement have both imbued the very material with meaning beyond the domestic, and enabled fabrics to be printed and manipulated in hitherto unimaginable ways.
This eponymous exhibition looks at some current practices, teasing out threads and themes through the work of 8 artists. Confident and brazen, Lauren Kelly’s work revels in cheekiness. For FABRIC she has taken over the platform space to create a new sculptural commission. Her cacophonous installations in which fabric, stitched, studded and knitted, combines with metal and voluptuous ceramics, merging hard and soft lines. The work questions gender stereotypes, differences and similarities, played out by the different mediums. Dexter Dymoke’s works, Untitled Drape Light andUntitled 2011 (illustrated above) meld the harsh contemporary glare of strip lights with elegant drapery. Surely a nod to the works of artist Dan Flavin, Dymoke inverts and implodes these stark Modernist moulds using swathes of chiffon.
Using fabric as her palette throughout her career, Liz Rideal explores the omnipresence of cloth and its visual emotional tension. Her photographic works shown in FABRIC include early photobooth photography through to recent works in response to Borromini’s architecture, made during a scholarship residency in Rome. For FABRIC Rideal has also created a new work merging objects and drapery in an alcove installation. Nigel Massey, Malina Buschand Bruce Ingram approach the medium as painters, moving single planes into sculptural opportunity. Massey’s ‘degraded camera images’, also described as ‘wilfully bad’ ’phone photography by the artist, are digitally translated into inherently malleable jacquard tapestries, allowing for new opportunities. Busch likewise nips, tucks and constrains the painted surface: each action becoming a mark, indicative of a fleeting moment.
Ingram approaches fabric with a collagists eye and the works in FABRIC appear as three dimensional visual interpretations of his mood boards and colourful collages. Manipulating clay, stretching and binding it with cloth creates vessel-like works that allude to secret narratives.
As a form of communication quilting has a long history from the quietly comforting through to the politically subversive. Henry Hussey and Sara Impey‘s works both use text and history, albeit in visually different forms. Recent Royal College of Art graduate Hussey’s highly charged autobiographical works contrast with the gentle subversion of Impey’s visual language in which her former background as a political writer for the Times is evident in her partnering of language, colour and stitch. The seductive nature of cloth, pliable yet strong, decorative or coarse, provides ample opportunity for exploration as both source material and autobiographical reference. From digitally produced tapestries that combine an ancient art with cutting edge technology, to autobiographical storytelling, the exhibition leads you through a highly subjective snapshot of fabric in contemporary art practice.