Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Digital encounters exhibition

This exhibition at the Herbert Read Gallery in Canterbury opened last week and my previous post described the opening symposium. The exhibition celebrates current practice using digital textile design in its many forms and links the digital to four themes: material, personal, social and historical. Its aim is to explore the role of digital technology in contemporary textile practice. As the curator, Jenna Rossi-Camus, reminded us in the symposium, digital implies modern technology but also has links to the handmade. The exhibits include smart textiles, digital printing, interactive textiles, digitally produced textiles and digitally reconstructed historical artefacts. There are over 40 pieces in the exhibition so I will just give you a flavour of some of my favourites. Quite a lot of the work involves digital textile printing which was beautiful in many cases but inevitably I was drawn to the more quirky exhibits. I was fascinated by the textiles of Nadia-Anne Ricketts, a former ballet dancer, who discovered a mathematical connection between music and fabric construction and now weaves music under the name Beatwoven.

I also liked the subversive nature of ‘Disastrous dinner’ by Wendy van Wynsberghe and Claire Williams (above) which uses Arduino technology to produce an interactive dinner party table cover. Placing your hands in different combinations on the tablecloth produced conversations, rude noises and the sound of breaking china. My own net curtains ‘Insider information’ (image at the top of this post) and ‘Unheeded warning’ are also interactive and I was pleased to see the QR codes working on several phones during the evening of the private view.

I also liked Hannah White’s laser cut lace (above) made from reflective materials that highlighted the movement of models wearing the lace. Another interesting piece was Shelly Goldsmith’s ‘Concealed’ an embroidered blouse hiding the image of a woman from the Lodz ghetto within the embroidery. I also liked the elegant simplicity of Jenny Shellard’s ‘Palindrome’ and the complexity of the figures drawn by Rosie James in ‘In the city’ using the sewing machine. All in all, there is plenty to see in this exhibition and the catalogue is an interesting read so it’s worth a visit.


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