Katharine Swailes and Caron Penney travelled repeatedly to New York City over a twelve year period whilst working on a large commission. During this influential time both artists were inspired by the urban landscape, street architecture, museum collections and natural environment. Mapping this journey through photography, note taking and sketches to their resulting work in woven textiles.
‘Manhattan’ is the beginning of a new chapter for both the artists, one which has involved shedding the past and emerging into new avenues.
The exhibition will be opened on Friday 5 June at the Private View from 6-8pm with a short introduction by Ann Sutton, MBE, internationally renowned for her work in woven textiles as an artist and for industry.
Swailes has created textiles for over 20 years, specifically working in tapestry for the last two decades. She specialises in both conventional flat wall works and smaller three-dimensional, sculptural pieces - as well as weaving large scale commissions at West Dean Tapestry Studio. Swailes is interested in the constructively open ended nature of the medium. Recent works explore the textures, systems and structure of Central Manhattan - using a limited palette of techniques, materials and colour. The inclusion of gold thread offers a contrast in structure to the natural fibres of cotton, linen and wool. This latest series of works draws on the collections in museums, the parks and streets of Manhattan.
Penney has also been producing tapestries for over 20 years and is a Master Tapestry Weaver. As well as working on high-profile commissions for the West Dean Tapestry Studio and her own Weftfaced Tapestry Workshop, Penney is a prolific exhibition-led weaver in her own right. ‘A defining characteristic of her oeuvre as an artist is the use of visual semiotics in expressing autobiographical themes’ (from Tapestry, A Woven Narrative: Black Dog Publishing 2012) .
Penney uses references to the street architecture, structural comparisons between the warp and weft and the gridded road systems in New York City. The colour red is used within a dominant monochromatic colour palette to represent the self, which is repeated throughout Penney’s work.
See the Manhattan online catalogue here.