I finally made it to Bilston to see this exhibition! From all that I had heard, it seemed that this would be an interesting and thought provoking show. I was not disappointed!
I must praise the Bilston Craft Gallery, the gallery space is stunning with oodles of natural light, a high ceiling and plenty of places to perch to enjoy studying the pieces. Also impressive in the present financial climate was the availability of a free show guide. I hope they had really strong footfall for this important textile collection.
Fabric and thread has so much potential, and the breadth of approaches here really made you think, from almost ethereal hangings to challenging nails each piece deserved consideration. Twenty four artist's work was hung.
I am interested in the different way in which I seem to approach textile art from other genres. I suspect that my largely absent art education leaves me without a vocabulary or a knowledge base to discuss the artist's processes whereas faced with textiles I am able to understand a great deal more about the process. Hence three stages in my viewing:
*take in the piece as a whole; what is saying; how do I feel about it.
*Colour and texture - materials, shape and balance. Why does this work.
*How has the artist created this piece and what does this teach me about how I might work.
I am fascinated by the use of materials and the choices the artist makes.
I do so hope that the audience for this show was not entirely confined to those already committed to seeing textiles as art on the same footing as painting and sculpture. It surely deserved to move the debate a long was forward.
In my next post I'll talk about some of the pieces I was fascinated by.