Sunday, 26 October 2014

Visit to Salt Mills, Saltaire

A year ago I combined taking some  plants to handover to Natural England  staff with visiting 'Cloth and Memory 2' at Salt Mills, Saltaire and although there is no exhibition  there at the moment, it worked well  so repeated it this year. Very mixed emotions as it's probably the end of my involvement  after nearly 25 years.  Arriving around 11.30  for discussions  and disbelief over coffee and cakes then a look around the Hockney exhibitions , time spent browsing in the book and art shops  , resisting the gorgeous jewellery ( I succumbed last year!). Most of all some time for contemplation  and reflection away from work, making plans on the trains   

During  CQ winter school  on rust marks with Alice Fox, we were having a discussion about Cloth and Memory exhibition, how interesting it was. People had different favourites and  many of us ( myself included) found that what stuck in our minds  after a year was not necessarily  what grabbed us at the time.  I was also looking around Saltaire this time with fresh eyes , seeing some of the  areas that inspired Alice, like the broken yellow lines on the cobbles. I got some strange looks taking this photo from the gangs of schoolboys that were hanging around the station!
  There was one piece of work by Machiko Agano from that exhibition  that was redisplayed in one of the entrance areas on the ground floor.  It looked very different in a  new context. Many of the Japanese pieces although  based on the themes of Cloth and Memory  do not seem so powerful in retrospect as those that were inspired directly from the building itself and the processes and people  it represents. The following photos are from last year.
Diana Harrison 'Handkerchiefs'  inspired by the flagstones
Jeanette Appleton " Production Line:People's Lives" Felt books/ledgers placed within the walls of the spinning room
Rachel Gray 'Shadow Pieces' stitched layered , patched and mended,  worked well with the peeling paint of the walls.

David Hockney ipad drawings
One of the reasons I arranged the meeting for a Wednesday was that so I could see  David Hockney's ' 25  Trees and other pictures' Besides the 3 huge photographs showing these trees in different seasons, finding beauty in the mundane ( it included a bus shelter!) there  was a projection room showing the latest drawings done on iphone or ipad which he sends regularly to the gallery.  Lots of vases of flowers ( glass works particularly well using this medium)  and other quick sketches, so lively.  'The Bigger Picture' at the RA a couple of years ago  remains for  me one of the most memorable exhibitions of recent years.

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