Second year MFA student, Margaret Jones, is currently collaborating with artist Jake Abrams to produce a piece of work to be shown at the Crypt Gallery in May 2015, during London Craft Week. Such collaborations are part of a new venture between Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and The Griffin Gallery.
6-10 May, 11am-5pm Private view: 6 May, 6-8.30pm
The exhibition will include 13 contemporary artists, 13 highly skilled craftsmen, to create one extraordinary collaborative exhibition inspired by the overarching theme of the inaugural London Craft Week; ‘London’s Hidden Craft’, MAKE / CREATE will feature 13 craft scholars from Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) and 13 fine artists, selected by Griffin Gallery, in dialogue with each other. The spirit of the exhibition lies in the desire to demonstrate the contemporary nature of craft, and the craft involved in contemporary art – changing perceptions of both. The selected craftsmen and artists were placed in pairs by a judging panel that included Julia Robinson of QEST, Becca Pelly-Fry, Director of Griffin Gallery, Rebecca Byrne, Events Manager of Griffin Gallery, Steve Macleod, photographer and Director of Metro Imaging, and Richard Edwards, Visual Arts and Craft Lead for Arts Council England. Craftspeople/Artists: Scott Benefield / Rachel Wickremer Trevor Cain / Nicola Dale Carréducker / Rosie Munro Kerr Steve Cook / Evy Jokhova Cordaelia Craine / Anneli Holmstrom Daniel Durnin / Lucy Dore Aidan Gray / Susan Fletcher Margaret Jones / Jake Abrams James Kirby / Anne Parfitt Rosanna Martin / Gill Newton Alan Moore / Eliza Bennett Mia Sarosi / Heidi Sincuba Melissa White / Chantal Powell
Jake was keen to work with a textile artist as he had long been thinking of making ‘softer’ materials part of his work, diverging from the manufactured artefacts and harder components (such as wood) that he habitually uses. Margaret viewed the collaboration as an excellent opportunity to broaden her horizons and take her work into exciting new areas. The collaboration engendered a healthy debate on the forms and content of Jake’s designs and also their practicalities within the perceived confines of tapestry weaving. On looking at each other’s work, the final form was arrived at quickly and unanimously – surprising from two artists who have such different backgrounds and portfolios.
Uncomplicated forms, many inspired by some of Jake’s latest paintings, were discussed. Jake manufactured a series of cloth and paper maquettes to work out suitable shapes and Margaret sampled various weaving techniques and edging processes. A large limp figure was envisaged that could slump within the exhibition space: a symbol of a character intensely made but devoid of energy and life-force. An umbilically-conjoined, three-dimensional orb, that would sit away from the figure, was also conceived. This would be an antithetical symbol of visceral vigour, a hectic tangled ball to represent a wild personality and vitality that had become suppressed or hidden away: a person estranged from their own personality.
The theme of duality was extended further by envisaging a rigid metal figure standing adjacent to the woven form, deliberately juxtaposing the surface of hard metal with the painstakingly hand-woven. Margaret and Jake were also fully aware of the embedded ironies within the apparent stereotypic roles that much of the collaboration involved: Margaret painstakingly hand weaving a body shape from natural yarn whilst Jake developed a digital vector map for computerised plasma cutting of steel. The audience at the Crypt Gallery will be invited to involve themselves with these ideas surrounding the work, reflecting on how gendered objects, materials and process can be.