Saturday, 23 August 2014

Form Through Colour: Josef Albers, Anni Albers and Gary Hume

Another interesting textile exhibition at Somerset House featuring the work of Josef Albers, (who's work I featured recently), alongside that of his wife Anni, and also contemporary artist Gary Hume. It is good to see their work translated into the different media of textiles, (for rug and textile design company Christopher Farr), although textile design and print is primarily what Anni Albers is well known for from her time with the Bauhaus.

The exhibition consists of the artists' most well known works interpreted as rugs, tapestries and textiles. One thing that struck me about the exhibition was the intensity, and in turn subtleties of colour used in the final textile works. You get a real sense of the skills required by those dyeing the fibres, as well as those weaving them to produce faithful replications of the original artworks. The resultant rugs were highly tactile and covetable.

Anni Albers' textile designs are based on geometry and are still fresh and contemporary. They fit right in with current faceted and geometric design trends for a variety of products in textiles for fashion and interiors. They were so forward thinking at the Bauhaus. Anni originally wanted to be a painter, but only males were allowed to paint at the Bauhaus school and she was persuaded to study textiles under Gunta Stolzl. Paintings' loss however, was textiles gain. I love the movement in her work, and the way her designs make the eyes move across the surface of the textiles.

The maze-like Meander rug above, was one of my favourites in the exhibition and clearly left an impression on me. Travelling home I was reminded of it later, when passing through Warren Street tube station and seeing the decorative London Underground tile design below.

I love Christopher Farr's tapestry interpretations of Josef Albers "Homage To The Square" series. It is good to see the colours more muted, and subtle compared to the vibrancy of his original prints and paintings.

It is also interesting to see the work of Gary Hume who is known for his use of colour and household gloss paints, exhibited alongside the work of the Albers. Here his Door paintings series are sumptuously recreated in cut and layered wool, which gives them a different dimension visually as they are more texturally interesting than the glossy sheen of the original paintings.

Form through Colour: Josef Albers, Anni Albers and Gary Hume
until 31st August
East Wing Galleries
Somerset House