Paid a visit to the recently expanded space of the Whitworth Art Gallery and really enjoyed the Art_Textiles exhibition which I managed to catch before it closes. I like the fact that the boundaries are blurring, and textiles/craft are now being recognised as a legitimate art practice and being shown in art gallery spaces. Many of the pieces certainly made a statement and more than held their own justifying their inclusion in the Whitworth's space. Below are a selection of the pieces that held my attention for a variety of reasons.
This piece is by Jessica Rankin is like a map, and is so intricate and delicate yet seems to make a strong statement.
These figurative sewing machine drawings (below), by Do Ho Suh are just beautiful. Would love to own one of these. (I will be showing some new works in February which also use the sewing machine as a drawing tool, and build on theRabble series that I started last year).
There is a good sense of movement which is enhanced by the coloured threads.
These pieces below by Anne Wilson disturbed me slightly as they were composed with hair and reminded me of the residue left after a bath/shower, and those Victorian lockets which contained locks of their loved ones hair.
I loved these pieces also by Anne Wilson who works with found textiles stitching into and exaggerating worn holes in areas of domestic linens. I started reworking voids in my own work last year culminating in pieces like Interstice and Drift.
These pieces by Monika Zaltauskaite-Grasiene had a Pop Art sensibility about them in the way in which they reinterpreted classical myths in a modern way. Some of her pieces are hand-stitched whilst others are digitally manipulated pixelated tapestries.
This monumental, red woven piece by Magdalena Abakanowicz dominates the main exhibition space and brings together the disciplines of sculpture and tapestry.
I love looking at typography in its various forms so enjoyed the pieces in the exhibition by Lawrence Lemaoana, which referenced political banners used by Suffragettes and Trade Unions branches.
This piece by Miriam Schapiro was an intriguing crochet installation entitled Womb Room it was like being trapped in a giant spider web. Lots of wonderful patterns and textures were created by the crochet work.
Yet more good examples of type in textiles from Ghada Amer. These are stencilled political slogans over-layed with embroidered threads to create interesting textures.
I don't like everything that Tracey Emin creates, but I did like the combination of type and image on this appliquéd blanket which contained an embroidered female figure in her signature scratchy drawing style, and had coins sewn onto it spilling forth from female figure.
This installation by Mary Sibande was very powerful because of its scale and the associations of black people in roles of servitude. I like the way in which she counters this with the powerful homage and portrait of Madame CJ Walker an African-American hair care entrepeneur, who was the first self-made female millionaire in America.
Lastly a snippet of a Grayson Perry tapestry exploring issues of class and taste. The colours were so vibrant, and it was exquisitely crafted combining modern and traditional methods.
This peacock feather piece in the first exhibition space at the Whitworth by Susie MacMurray, was not part of the Art_Textiles exhibition but complimented it wonderfully.
Art_Textiles until 31st January 2016 Whitworth Art Gallery Oxford Road Manchester http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/
Cambridge Contemporary Art are holding an event to celebrate the Christmas season, and would like to invite you for drinks. The event will be held at the gallery on Wednesday 16th December between 5-7pm, and all the other businesses on the lovely, picturesque Trinity Street will also be open to celebrate. To add to the festive cheer there will be a choir singing christmas carols, and roast chestnuts to boot if you please! Do join us if you can. See you there!