The vision for Threading Forms was to demonstrate the variation currently at play within fine art textiles. The variety of art forms presented incorporated machine and hand stitch, tapestry, deconstructed fabrics and collage.
Linking in with the Modern British origins of the fair, Oxford Ceramics Gallery presented Peter Collingwood. Collingwood is largely considered the pre-eminent British artist weaver of the post war Modern British period. He is described as a technical innovator, teacher and mentor. The visual results of Collingwood’s work are calming, symmetrical and light.
Professor Alice Kettle presented by Candida Stevens Gallery continued the work that Collingwood started.
Described by the V&A as a ‘pioneer’ and ground-breaking she is a contemporary educator, pioneer, innovator. Kettle incorporates a blend of analogue and digital, using machines both old and new alongside the use of hand-stitching.
The visual results of Kettle’s work, always rich in narrative, are dynamic, colourful and arresting. Southampton City Art Gallery, the Fair’s museum partner 2020, acquired Odyssey, a significant work by Kettle.
Arusha Gallery showed Julie Airey, whose work has a delicacy to it. Layers of fine muslin combined with thread and paint to create an ethereal quality. Suggestions of shapes, nearly there figures, comment on the vulnerability of the human condition. Airey is an artist who trained as a painter and now incorporates the materials of paint and thread in her work.
Cavaliero Finn showed woven and cut tapestries by Jacy Wall alongside ceramics by Björk Haraldsdóttir. The visual harmony of the two artists was striking. Bjork’s knowledge of architecture is evident in her geometric forms and marries in with the deconstructed pattern structure of Wall’s work.
Atelier WeftFaced also presented tapestry, combining the skills of hand woven tapestry and hand crafted costume. Better known commissioned pieces include Tirra Lirra by Gillian Ayres (2014) for Alan Cristea Gallery and Amigos (2016-19) for Martin Creed.
Having these two different presentations of tapestry linked with West Dean Tapestry Studio who gave an on site demonstrating into the art of tapestry weaving throughout the duration of the fair. The fair team kindly agreed to give some space to two charities, West Dean College of Arts and Education and OutsideIn to bring a broad reaching appeal to Platform.
OutsideIn is a charity that works with artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. Several of their artists use textile art as their primary form of expression. Anthony Stevens, whose work is presented here, uses hand stitching to create expressive pieces that he says work as a form of therapy and self expression.
The vision was to allow Platform Threading Forms to stand out, to have it’s own identity, to make it both visually and emotionally different, to emphasise it’s unique place within the larger fair. The idea was to activate the space by having a live performance of ‘textile art in the making’ throughout the week. Demystifying artistic process is key to allowing collectors to confidently access art, as textile art becomes a trending art form there is more interest than ever from collectors. With live demonstrations throughout the week of the fair with tapestry by West Dean and machine and hand stitching by Alice Kettle, visitors were enlightened and inspired.
PLATFORM GALLERIES AND ARTISTS 2020
Arusha Gallery: Bringing works by Julie Airey
Oxford Ceramic Gallery: Bringing works by Peter Collingwood
Cavaliero Finn: Bringing works by Jacy Wall, Björk Haraldsdóttir
Atelier Weftfaced: Bringing works by Katharine Swailes, Caron Penney
Candida Stevens Gallery: Bringing works by Alice Kettle
On its launching edition, Platform explored the expansive territory of Ceramics.