Lines of Communication: Prism at Hoxton Arches
Lines of Communication was a Prism exhibition that ran between 20-31 May 2015 at Hoxton Arches, Cremer Street, London E2.
Prism exhibition group was founded in 1999, and focuses on showcasing high quality fine art textile practice and craftsmanship.
This guest post was contributed by Dr Georgina Williams, an independent researcher, artist and writer.
Lines of Communication: Prism at Hoxton Arches 20-31 May 2015
After more than a decade exhibiting at the Mall Galleries in London SW1, the Prism exhibition group has a new home for 2015 and beyond. Hoxton Arches is an inspired location; less corporate, more art school, a space that greatly assists in drawing the individual artists and their work together as a cohesive whole.
The exhibition was officially opened on Thursday by Freddie Robins, Textile Artist and Senior Tutor on the Textiles programme at the Royal College of Art. For the amassed crowd the message contained within her encouraging words was clear: support the arts by purchasing the work. This collection of Textile Art-inspired pieces is as extensive as it is eclectic. I had the privilege of being escorted around the show by exhibitor and exhibition curator Lisa Earley, and it is certainly an enhanced experience when greater information and insight into each piece is offered than can be derived from the brief descriptions available. This is, I admit, a particular perspective that I personally enjoy, whilst respecting that others – both artists and viewers – may prefer to let the work speak for itself. In Hoxton Arches there is certainly a lot to be said and heard. Artworks informed by experience with illness, language and memory sit innovatively side by side with pieces inspired by technology and consumerism; with a title such as Lines of Communication, it is fascinating, as with all art exhibitions, to see the tangible results of each individual artist’s interpretation through their thought- and creative-processes.
This exhibition is a first class curation of a large number of artists’ work – more than 50 are included in the display. What is interesting to reflect upon is Prism’s objective that the pieces produced in the name of this collective is “Textile-inspired Art” – a small but nonetheless nuanced by-line that allows for ongoing experimentation with mixed-media. Jackie Langfeld’s Hubbub – an array of metal, filament and glass – is a superb example of this. Equally of import is the observation that, as with paint or clay or pastel, “textiles” – even as an admittedly over-generalised composite term for the medium with which an artist works – is nevertheless material behind which nobody can hide. In respect of this, some of the strongest pieces for me are those that demonstrate the undoubted illustrative skills of the creator. Earley’s and Amanda Hislop’s exhibition pieces in particular demonstrate this point impressively, with Hislop’s sketchbook Lines of Communication… a working sketchbook, an especially stunning piece of work.
In recommending the genre of textiles as productive media for aesthetic expression, whilst additionally recognising its more general position in the wider field of visual culture, this exhibition is a terrific endorsement. Hoxton Arches is deceptively extensive without being rambling, with the initial room leading almost unacknowledged through to a second, then out into a courtyard area where refreshments on Thursday were served amongst the exhibits in the pleasantly warm evening air. The entire space has been utilised impressively, with no discernible division between the artworks or the artists, resulting in a free-flowing tour de force of creative output. Lines of Communication showcases a collaboration between imaginative interpretation and technical expertise. The list would be long if I named every piece that, in my opinion, excels in demonstrating one – and often both – of these essential components. That being said, I do wish to highlight one particular artist: Jo Coombes’ work is informed by the lost words of the stroke victim. The two pieces included in the exhibition, Lost for Words and I Mind the Gap, consequently serve to perfectly encapsulate the ethos of the exhibition as a whole: beautiful to look at, expertly effected, and extremely evocative of the artist’s message. It is therefore fitting in conclusion to consider Coombes’ work in the context of Robins’ sentiment from her opening address, as these exquisite, emotive pieces stand as an apposite reminder to the viewer and prospective purchaser that the value far outweighs the cost. In supporting the arts it should always be remembered that the enjoyment the artwork will bring to its owner will remain long after the initial monetary cost is forgotten.
For more information on Prism and future exhibitions, please visit: www.prismtextiles.co.uk
What are your thoughts on the Lines of Communication exhibition? Did you see it? Leave a comment below!