Exhibition review: Small Worlds – Anne Kelly
Artist, author and tutor Anne Kelly has been a featured artist and contributor to Textileartist.org. She has recently co-written her first book ‘Connected Cloth’ with Cas Holmes and is a featured artist at the Jersey Textile Showcase in 2014. She is also artist in residence at the RHS partnered Sussex Prairies garden in West Sussex in 2014. Her exhibited and commissioned work is held in collections in the UK and abroad.
Here Carolyn Forster reflects on Anne’s recent exhibition, Small Worlds, which was shown at Trinity Town and Country Gallery, Tunbridge Wells, Kent from 10-29 September 2013.
‘Small Worlds’, Anne Kelly September 2013
- Words by Carolyn Forster
- Photographs Anne Kelly
A train of thought about the works in the show…
The materials were everyday and accessible and also evocative. It inspired you to get stitching and you knew you would have things at home that you could use to make the work your. Even though you knew you could ‘have a go’ to create your own work, you still wondered if it had as much to say or as much depth as Anne’s work.
The stitches are part of the picture and not hidden, giving it a straightforward quality. The machine stitching over the work, which then often had details on top, unified things as though through a gauze or cobweb.
Even the small pieces, the ‘Prairie Meadows’, had lots to see and let your eye travel around the piece and kept you there.
I liked ‘Baroque Ceiling’ as it reminded me of the Indian Palampores and then the chintz medallion quilts that they inspired. The apron gave the piece a starting point. The first impressions from a distance are of the harmony of colours and textures.
Nothing jars or shocks you. It is very comfortable and draws you closer to spend more time looking at it and gets you involved with the work. I liked looking to see what was happening in the different spaces that the structure of the apron created.
Another favourite piece was the ‘Bird Tree – Waistcoat’.
At a distance, I liked the harmony that the colours and textures created. The comforting nature of this drew me closer until again, I became involved with the piece.
Some of the comfort factor comes from the fact that these pieces of art are made from things that you already have and are living with. That makes it a very natural process to want to spend longer at the work and thinking about it.
The pieces, created from things that you live with day-to day, made the ordinary seem extraordinary.
Also included in the ‘Small Worlds’ exhibition was a community wallpiece ‘Sparrow Stories’ which was conceived and made to raise awareness of the house sparrow’s decline worldwide. Contributors were asked to record their impressions and observations of house sparrows. This included drawings, photographs, stitched pieces, memorabilia relating to sparrows and 3D sculptures of sparrows. Anne produced the background in her heavily embroidered and layered signature style, including a number of ‘trees’ which the additions could be attached to, by pinning. The piece will now travel to two RSPB centres in London and the South East of England, to help to educate and promote the RSPB’s mission to ‘give nature a home’. Anne is planning to continue her support for the RSPB in 2014, when she is artist in residence at Sussex Prairies garden, near Henfield, East Sussex.
About the reviewer
Carolyn Forster studied Textiles at Bath and has a City and Guilds in Patchwork and Quilting. She teaches widely and has been featured in various British magazines including Fabrications, Popular Patchwork and Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. Carolyn’s quilts have appeared on television, both here and in the US, and has contributed to books published by That Patchwork Place and New Holland.
To find out more about Carolyn Forster visit http://www.carolynforster.co.uk
To find out more about the artist visit www.annekellytextiles.com