Archive for April, 2013

The Colour of Summer – Seiko Kinoshita

April 25, 2013

This is the second of two posts I’m making to feature exhibitions by artists at Select 2013 in the beautiful Cotswold town of Stroud. From the home of Stroud International Textiles Select 2013 is the major UK contemporary textile event of the year and this year’s programme is outstanding. In my first post I wrote a short essay on Hillu Liebelt’s Still Moments show when this touring exhibition visited Bankfield Museum in Halifax. My essay on Seiko Kinoshita benefitted from a visit to her Sheffield studio as she started work on her SIT commissioned installation The Colour of Summer.

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Seiko Kinoshita working on her installation Colour of Summer

For all Seiko Kinoshita’s diffidence about describing her work and her inspiration, in conversation she is rarely lost for a vivid verbal image. Sometimes it’s like listening to a translation of Kanji characters, those Chinese elements of Japanese containing only content words (nouns) and stems of verbs and adjectives, missing out the usual prepositions and conjunctions. As you hear her speak you fill in the gaps, and that’s fine. This suggests that she has not changed her (Japanese) way of thinking about the essential nature of things seen. Nature predominates: sky, field, tree, flower. There’s also a directness about colour: blue, red, green, yellow. She seems less concerned with qualities of difference than the directness of sensory impact. So when she begins to describe plans for her installation in the foyer of Stroud Museum this directness and simplicity of description provides instant images. Green and Yellow: that rich green of grass in a meadow; the vibrant yellow of a field of rape. That’s it. But wait. What you have to add to this is movement of textile in 3D space. Imagine suspended fragments of woven paper yarn direct-dyed in these two colours, not as in her autumnal One Sunny Day (2010) a blaze of orange and red woven leafs revolving in a perpendicular structure, but resting in curvatured swathes of yellow then green, yellow then green, so when seen from a distance (from the Museum courtyard?) a summer landscape of colour appears. Her initial sketches seem to add something new to her existing body of site-specific work, textile forms that may sway and ripple across and within a rectangular space.

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Still Moments – Hillu Liebelt

April 25, 2013

Still Moments is a touring exhibition by tapestry weaver Hillu Liebelt. I saw this intriguing exhibition when it visited Bankside Museum in Halifax. It is now opening at Select 2013 at SIT’s wonderful textile festival at Stroud in the beautiful Cotswolds.  This is one of two posts I’m making about the artists featured at Select. The second will feature Seiko Kinoshita’s specially commissioned installation and a visit I made to her Sheffield studio in January 2013 just as she was preparing to weave the paper pieces that make The Colour of Summer.

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from Winter Sun by Hillu Liebelt

I’m looking at one of twenty 8 x 8cm weavings called Winter Sun. It’s a winter’s day in the third week of December and the series, conveniently placed so that I can look comfortably at it from just a dozen centimetres distant, has been arranged close to large floor to ceiling windows. But alas, there is no winter sun today, just a grey light diffused through a fine mist. Yet all these woven images display an extraordinary textural play of shading and shadow, hardly imaginable as a process of thread between thread.  Whilst some of these suns are believably visible, many might belong to other planets sailing in far-distant solar space. The imagination’s prerogative, these images imparting defused light and colour, have an elegant simplicity that is playfully reflective. You look for a favourite, and do so with that intensity and patience Jeanette Winterson has written of so powerfully, where the still but questing eye senses then reveals detail upon more detail. And when you eventually turn away the memory retains the stillness of these moments spent entering their fantasies of colour and texture.

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