Tuesday 15 April 2014

Boro at Somerset House

More than 2 weeks since my last post, very busy at work as our lab was a winner in the Intellectual Property Office 'Fast Forward' Competition. Plus 2 weekends ago Susan and Glyn came to stay, lovely to catch up, and hearing Susan talk from behind her pile of quilts at  Quilters Guild Regional day . Last Friday, Ian and I went to the 'Vikings' exhibition at British Museum - very crowded and lots of people with BO!( end of week? unsuitable clothes in warmer weather?) so I  moved quickly to the larger area where the impressive boat was. I also enjoyed the interpretation more in this area , concentrating on how they lived, their belief systems  (which had me looking again through excellent book on amulets  when I got home).
Earlier on I'd taken the afternoon off work to go to see the  Boro exhibition at Somerset House, deeply satisfying at so many levels. Several bloggers have written excellent posts on their experiences: Helen; Susan; Margaret: here and here.   
First of all the setting was spacious allowing you to step back from the pieces and also to examine them in detail  at leisure. The pieces were mainly mounted on canvas, very much to be viewed as abstract art pieces. The  minimal mounted boards of explanatory text ( repeated in the catalogue) made reference to  a wide range of artists including 'outsider art' those that used ephemera  and more  mainstream artists such as  Picasso and Paul Klee ( having seen the recent exhibition I can definitely see the links there). But the fabric and stitch gave a whole other dimension. The catalogue  also showed in some instances the same piece in different orientations -  that many looked equally good although different showed just how powerful  these pieces are.   Difficult to choose favourites,  (although  2 out of 3 had been sold so I obviously have good taste!) my preference was for those that had a bit of light to leaven the indigo and with some interesting stitch and patterns.  I concentrated to taking photos of some of the details as these weren't so represented in the catalogue

Taking photos from  beneath or to the side in raked light revealed some interesting textures and clues to how fabrics had been layered.

I loved the  almost vessel like quality , variation in stitch (with some sashiko) and evidence of multiple layers in this piece (no 3)
And the reverse applique ovoids  in no 18 (below)



This was so reminiscent of blind stitching  but then it's probably the back, the 'unconscious side' with neater stitching of the front hidden.
When I got home I fished out the 'cutter' quilts I've bought, thinking I could be even more daring than I was 'darning' and putting together my 'Red Remnants' quilt. Watch this space!
UpdateJudy has asked about details of the catalogue. It's ISBN 978-2-9536279-3-0 Boro Threads of Life Japanese Indigo Patched Textiles 2014  Gordon Reece & Philippe Boudin. Do take a look at the  Mingei Arts Gallery  and Gordon Reece websites  for some of the pictures that feature in the book.


Judy Martin said...

Is there a catalogue for this exhibit? I would love to have one as I won't get there.

What is the exact title?

Beautiful blog.

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing so many pictures. Very inspiring for me as one of my current projects is using boro cloth.

About Roma Tearne said...

Lovely post! So disappointed to miss the exhibition.... Perhaps you will like to read my latest post on Japan in return....