Claire Barclay. Rawless

6 Jul 2024 – 8 Sep 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 16:00
11:00 – 16:00
11:00 – 16:00
11:00 – 16:00

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Dumfries, United Kingdom

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This summer, we are delighted to present RAWLESS, a new installation made for and in response to our upstairs space by Glasgow-based Claire Barclay (b. 1968, Paisley), opening 6 July 2024.  

Through its engagement with the raw materials, land practices and machinery traditionally associated with wool production, and the domestic uses of woollen textile, RAWLESS builds upon Claire’s exhibition Thrum at MAC Belfast in 2022, which featured a series of large-scale tactile environments that were informed by historical connections between linen production and textile practices in the West of Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Bringing together materials including wool fabrics, wool crewel yarn, combed wool fleece, sheepskin, lanolin, welded, forged and laser cut steel, rust, machined brass and gorse, RAWLESS will comprise a series of interrelated sculptural elements that are mindful of Cample Mill’s history as a site of local woollen yarn and textile manufacture and as a place of both labour and dwelling.  

Sheep fleece and wool processing, expressive craft disciplines, features of the local topography, handcrafts and manufacture, tools, clothing, the romanticizing and commercialisation of heritage, and the exploitation or revering of domesticated animals have all influenced Claire’s development of RAWLESS, as have the domestic proportions of our building, and the sheep grazing that continues to surround Cample itself. 

Claire has suggested: ‘I have been looking for intersections between agricultural, industrial and domestic contexts, the slippages between workplace and home and the confluences of labour and dwelling that are commonplace. And more specifically, how this is evident in objects that we make and use.’ 

Welded steel hoops with fuzzy sheepskin sleeves will suspend from the exposed roof trusses of our upstairs space. Embroidered wool fabric elements, and forged steel hooks and pointed rods, made by Claire at a local forge, will suggest functions yet evade any specific reading. Some will contrast with precisely machined brass objects with comb teeth that are filled with lanolin.  

Thick, hand-stitched woollen cloth covers will be wrapped around or lain over branches of dried gorse. Larger cut steel shapes, some rusted and bright with the colours of iron oxides, might suggest redundant farming or factory equipment. There will be nods to sheep-shearing equipment and to Sanquhar knitting patterns.

Of the materials she most often works with – clay, cloth, wood, wool, metal and so on – Claire has noted: ‘They’ve been used to make the objects that shape our lives for a very long time…they transcend time and place and even culture.’ In RAWLESS, materials, objects and forms will interact physically and psychologically to create a mood that may spark thoughts about labour and redundancy within the domestic context.  

RAWLESS will be Claire’s first exhibition in Dumfries and Galloway, and will be accompanied by a newly commissioned short essay by Lizzie Lloyd, a writer and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Art & Writing, UWE Bristol.   

Claire Barclay is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.  

With grateful thanks for Creative Scotland for their funding support.

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Claire Barclay


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