Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Rochester Art Gallery and Craft Case - Thread Bare

Thread Bare has been conceived by the gallery’s curators at Medway Council as a means of reflecting on concerns relating to “human condition and identity, social and domestic circumstances and cultural exploration through textiles”, and the works are promised as “playful and unsettling in their approach”. These are large claims and universal themes, and the required mix of play and unsettlement adds further pressure to deliver a potent and affecting exhibition.

Joanne Haywood’s work takes up the human story through pieces that reach back into the faraway history of the Thames Valley and the exposed objects that come to light through mudlarking. Taking the clay pipes that speak in their materiality of the bones and shell that also archaeologically evidence London’s history, Haywood is interested in the transitional, as seen through metal oxidisation or the juxtaposing of skeletal metal and the fleshliness of textiles.

In her Pipe Flower Neckpieces, she builds onto the historical artefact something of the living textile, reminiscent of the loss of textile artefacts to water damage and time but also indicative of the re-inventive power of threads. Like Minta’s missing brooch in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, (in) significant objects, especially those of desire sustain and prevail, and offer themselves unexpectedly from the past for our engagement and re-visitation.

Essay by Dr Catherine Harper MA, FHEA, FRSA Head of the School of Architecture and Design, University of Brighton; UK Editor: Textile: the Journal of Cloth and Culture; Editorial Board: International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education.

Craig Fisher, Lucy Brown, Joanne Haywood, Judith Dwyer
13 February - 25 April 2010

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