Exhibition Review: Small Talk – The 62 Group
A diverse range of high-quality work by members of the renowned 62 Group of textile artists is currently on show at the Constance Howard Gallery, Goldsmiths, in London. The exhibition has been named ‘Small Talk’, although the work reflects big ideas and creative ingenuity, realized through a variety of media. We were lucky enough to attend the private view of this inspirational textile art show and had the chance to chat to a few of the artists whose work was featured.
Ann Goddard – At Stake
Ann’s work has held a fascination for TextileArtist.org since we were first introduced to it at the Knitting and Stitching show last year. An interview with her, exploring the inspiration behind her work and the methods she uses to realize her ideas, has proved one of our most popular articles. She has also recently been a featured artist on the site.
Like much of Ann’s work, the piece selected for Small Talk explores the impact of human activity on nature. In At Stake, Ann makes use of bark taken from trees felled to make way for a housing development. She wanted to utilise a piece of nature that once would have been a valuable habitat for a vast range of small life forms, and give it a new life. As well as being visually engaging, the story behind the piece gives it an emotional impact and history that is both touching and invigorating.
It never ceases to amaze me the range of techniques and materials textile artists employ to create original work. Ann is no exception and is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. For the creation of At Stake, she brought together synthetic rubber cord, thread, bark, rebar, feathers and wire, using a vast range of methods, including drilling, hand stitch, machine wrapping, knotting and construction.
Jae Maries – Gathering
Jae Maries is currently chair of the 62 Group and was recently kind enough to write a feature for us about their history and work.
Her work Gathering features a group of people at a party or maybe even a textile art show. Taking inspiration from real-life chats in coffee bars and at exhibitions, Jae has created a piece that is detailed and amusing. She has combined the snippets of conversations with small figures made from fabric scraps, paper, threads, ribbons, metal and monofilament; these are the people mingling and conversing in Gathering.
Jae pieced painted and printed fabric scraps and assembled them with hand and machine stitch to create a delicately vibrant work for the Small Talk exhibition.
Shuna Rendel – Dark Form
Shuna Rendel uses a range of traditional textile techniques to create 3-D flexible sculpture. She is continually pushing techniques to their limit to expand the range of her work, giving each new piece a sense of innovation and development.
Dark Form, on display at Small Talk, is a tonal drawing which develops and contrasts the changing quality of line, light and shades of darkness.
Shuna used a variety of materials to create the end result, including dyed hemp, dyed chair cane and wire. Combined with techniques such as knotted netting and overlay, she has produced an intricate and complex work of endless fascination.
Heather Belcher – Half a Blanket
Heather Belcher‘s work explores hand made felting processes, but she also incorporates techniques such as hand knitting, printing and drawing. She mainly creates images of domestic objects and clothing, which become integrated in the structure of the cloth.
Half a Blanket was originally inspired by a collection of traditional Welsh blankets made from two pieces of narrow, hand-woven cloth. Having become increasingly interested in selvedges and seams, self-edges and boundaries, worn edges that unravel, Helen created this piece using merino wool.
Helen Banzhaf – Untitled
Helen Banzhaf has been making textiles since 1989. Her work is exhibited both at home and abroad and her textiles are featured in many books and publications.
The untitled piece, which she is currently on show in the 62 Group’s Small Talk exhibition, features misshapen motifs in the background; these have become somewhat synonymous with Helen’s work. Usually, however, they are applied as a decorative pattern to stitched vessels. Here they can be seen tucked behind tumbling leaves.
Helen uses machine embroidery to achieve the desired effect and the piece is made from 100% mercerized thread.
Small Talk runs from 4 June to 25 July 2013 at the Constance Howard Gallery, Goldsmiths, University of London, Deptford Town Hall Building, New Cross Road , London SE14 6AF. For more details telephone: +44(0)20 7717 2210/2295.
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