Breaking the Fall is a collaboration with my mother, Cherrie Beaney. It is an exploration of our practices of care, attending to how illness (in this case, epilepsy) impacts my mother, and how I, in turn am affected. Specifically, the concept of ‘control’ within care arose as a subject with affective resonances for each of us.
The messages and images embroidered in these aprons are associated with the urgent need to make the high levels of gender-based violence visible and question and contest our society’s patriarchal structure and severe social inequalities.
Anne von Freyburg recycles wearable materials to refashion 17th century Dutch paintings. Her mantra is “I paint with materials” and she deftly manipulates fabrics into images by embroidering onto canvas. Celebrating embellishment as a tool of self-expression, these ‘paintings’ use the visual cues of fashion to suggest art is more than just a decorative object.
Tussar, Chanderi, Kanjeevaram, Bandini, Patola – these are names I would often hear around me while growing up in India, and I remember vividly the accompanied excitement that these words would conjure, and the all-consuming beauty and vibrancy that would follow.
As I approach 60, I feel comfortable working from ideas based on my interior perspective. The validation of others does not bother me too much – I like to be part of the conversation but otherwise I make what I feel like doing and that gives me pleasure.
I could connect to people whom I a priori had nothing in common with, simply because we were potters. We spoke the same language, the language of clay, which went beyond the borders within which we had been born.
Matt Gale’s work examines systems and relationships, exploring unusual or unexpected pairings of partners as a means to reference the queerness of the natural world – that actually nature is far less binary than we might imagine.
I stand in cold stacks. My hands run over the pale green boxes scored with pencil marks. I rummage. A syllabus, a letter and tangled endings. An under-stairs cupboard filled with pornography. S&M dyke night flyers with tea in the living room. Email trails: reaching out, and toward something…
Inspired by Arthur Rimbaud’s famous quote, ‘Je est un autre’, which translates to mean ‘I am another’, Violetta Liszka’s project harnesses wire sculpture, photography and poetry to explore the boundaries between human interiority and the exterior forces that shape emotional and bodily experience.
Stained body. A body that was cut, bruised, complicated. Fluid and mobile. Trying to keep head in the air so I could breathe. Forming itself to the shape of the container that traps it. I was contained water. My spirit, like oil cut into water. Disconnected. Yearning for connection And wholeness.
Violetta Liszka was born in Krakow, Poland. Working first as a physiotherapist before embarking on a BA (Hons) and MA in Photography at the University of Brighton, pursuing interests in art and Judaism. Liszka has had art exhibits in London, Brighton, Southhampton, Berlin, Toronto, New York and Krakow, and is currently pursuing an MA in Jewish History and Culture at the University of Southhampton.
Artist, curator and founder of the Black British Female Artist Collective, Enam Gbewonyo is an exciting talent in fibre art; working at the boundaries between craft and fine art, her multimedia practice weaves new narratives of identity and belonging that counter stereotypes of race and gender. Having previously worked as a knitwear designer in New York, Enam has a clear understanding of how closely textiles are entwined with our daily lives and the power they exert over our sense of self. We first met Enam when she delivered a paper on ‘Yarn, Power and Patriarchy: An Exercise in Unravelling the Seams of Oppression’ atour November 2018 symposium Modernism: Making, Place, and Protest. Enam’s panel, which also included ICON editor Priya Khanchandani and curator Claire Mead, was a highlight of the day, but her talk particularly stood out: not only for the fascinating ways in which she connected traditional Ghanaian weaving practices with her own process of making, but also for how she passionately and persuasively articulated her belief in craft’s power to undo systems of patriarchy. It is no surprise that, since then, Enam’s work has begun to attract serious attention: in 2019, she has performed at the Henry Moore Institute, the Venice Biennale, and at Christie’s, London, joined MTArt Agency, and exhibited at the Ashmolean Museum and New Ashgate Gallery (amongst others).
Nude Me/Under the Skin: the Awakening of Black Women’s Visibility One Pantyhose at a Time, performed at the Venice Biennial and Christie’s in 2019, is a powerful piece of performance art that mixes ballet and textiles to uncover and unravel the binds that have constricted black female subjectivity. Gbewonyo uses tights to tell stories of identity, alienation, and becoming, connecting with the experiences of her mother, an NHS nurse forced to wear thick tights that clashed with her natural skin tone. Her art highlights the way that tights have functioned as a protective material for white Western women, whilst reinforcing a sense of marginalisation for women of colour; incorporating seedy advertising images, she also shows how they have been used to objectify the female body. Nude Me/Under the Skin enacts a rejection of hosiery’s suffocating hold, as Gbewonyo unbinds the tights that tie her body and transfers them to a mirror frame: the artist emerges through the mirror, uncompromising and emboldened.
Last Autumn, Gbewonyo’s work was on show as part of Gossamer, an exhibition at Margate’s Carl Freedman gallery that brought together 22 artists working with the medium of tights and stockings. Sitting alongside some of 20th century art’s biggest names, including Man Ray, Louise Bourgeois, and Sarah Lucas, Gbewonyo’s work stood out as a strikingly fresh use of nylons as an artistic medium. The tangled tights stretched out across gilt frames raise questions about the intersection of fine art and craft, as well as the politics of display, objectification, and subjugation of bodies in racist and sexist modern cultural narratives.
On 15th April 2020, Gbewonyo will perform a new work – ‘The Unbinding: A Restorative Act in Two Halves’ – as part of Two Temple Place’s current exhibition Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles. Created in response to Alice Kettle’s ‘Three Caryatids’, Gbewonyo’s performance promises to be ‘both an ode to and healing restoration of the female form’s fluidity, power and softness’. We guarantee you won’t want to miss it – register for a free ticket here!
Find out more about Enam Gbewonyo over on her website