This is Now: From Drawing to Contexture
Well-stocked ragbag from a new wave of textile artists
This article is from 2009.
The first impact of this show, and the most enduring, is the overwhelming urge to touch. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the artworks are more tactile than, say, a series of oil paintings; This Is Now is a collaborative exhibition of work by former tapestry students from Edinburgh College of Art, and in addition to the polished exhibits of the main room it makes a real effort (via displays of tools, materials, and preliminary work) to bring the creative process into the art gallery.
As with any collaborative exhibition, it’s a mixed bag, but there are enough strong exhibits to give the show some thrust.
The most striking piece is Anna Ray’s ‘Structure Knot – Random Pattern’. This looks a bit like a rag-rug made from brightly-coloured, stuffed and knotted worms, and an accompanying book shows the many different structures that these funny tubular growths have been knotted into on the way to their current rag-rug form. There’s a playfulness and an openness to the Structure Knot which suggests that solidification in a ‘final form’ would be the death of it.
Jo McDonald’s panels of knotted paper are equally fascinating, and the transition between oil pastel and tapestry in Amanda Gizzi’s ‘Pickled Peaches’ is a fine demonstration of the possibilities of tapestry as a medium. Gizzi is the only figurative artist exhibiting, and she gives the show a bite it might otherwise have lacked.
Whatever its shortcomings, the best stuff here is a long way from cross-stitch kittens and floral borders.
Patriothall Gallery WASPS Studios, 220 3355, until 29 Aug, free.