This weekend, we spent a day in London to visit the COLLECT 2012 art collectors fair at the Saatchi Gallery, and the Bauhaus exhibition at the Barbican Centre. I got lots of ideas from the COLLECT show, particularly in weaving. There were beautiful 3-dimensional forms woven from brass, nickel, silver and copper by Yede Takahiro (Yufuku Gallery, Tokyo), and woven wall-hangings by Pamela Wilson (Sebastian Schildt, Stockhom) with large oxidised copper plates used as part of the warp, and toning threads in copper aquamarines and greens as the weft. In Ainsley Hillard’s ‘Flow’, viscose ribbon was heat transfer printed and hand woven to form the the weft with invisible monofilament thread as the warp. The resulting piece had a haunting ethereal quality, accentuated by loosening of the weave at the top and bottom.
Another textile artist who caught my eye was Naoko Serino (Katie Jones Japanese Art Dealer, London) who moulds and fuses jute fibres to create beautiful soft sculptures. The two on display were sheets of jute with conical projections, teased into ringlets at their points. I was also excited to meet Michael Brennand-Wood, and has a chance to talk to him about his recent series of work based on warfare. I had seen a piece from this collection at Lost in Lace, and it was interesting to see how the ideas have moved on to his newer work. The large scale lacework has been developed to create giant medals.
The artist who really caught my imagination wasn’ in textiles at all, but rather glass. Steffen Dam had a series of solid glass pieces moulded into the shape of specimen jars incorporating bubbles and marks resembling marine creatures. He also had large specimen blocks that had a more botanical feel. The marks were so delicate and light, they really were beautiful.
Upstairs was the Craft Council’s Project Space, where I got a closer look at machine embroidery work by Louise Gardiner. I have been rather excited about this opportunity as I love her designs and use of bold colour without becoming overbearing. I feel her designs are balanced beautifully and like the mix of stitching, painting and applique. One thing I hadn’t really appreciated before was the scale of her work. Another artist was Lucy Brown, who was working on an instillation of woven cut vintage ladies clothing. She has blogging about her experience as an artist in residence (see link from her name). As her work is of rather a personal nature to her, she has found the experience of working in the ‘glare’ of the public rather revealing and uncomfortable at times. Other artists for me to remember are Nahoko Kojima and her leopard cut from a single sheet of paper, and Maryrose Watson, who had constructed mathematical 3D woven patterns around deep wooden frames.
Bauhaus at the Barbican was a brilliant exhibition, and I was particularly drawn to the Jacquard loom silk weaving ‘Five Choirs’ by Gunta Stolzl. I enjoyed the mix of pastels and primaries, and symmetry of tones and motifs throughout the piece. The variation in shapes and lines created a lively design. The other thing that struck me about the woven pieces in general was the mixing of fibres, synthetics against natural fibres that worked really well.
I found the exhibition reassuring in terms of my personal study, as I found I had already covered most of the principles covered in the show. Seeing the pieces in life was hugely exciting!