Friday, 23 July 2010

The Dartboard for Witches: Contemporary work in textiles

Tabitha Kyoko Moses - Hair Purse - Seen here

I went to the opening of The Dart Board for Witches at Aberystwyth Arts Centre last night. It is good to have an overview of this kind; a look at the way textiles have been accepted into fine art practice and contextualised historically, culturally, politically. The show is themed with a focus on the human figure. There is generally a preponderance of women working in this way, textiles often still carry a strong feminist message; most of the exhibitors are women, but two men are also showing.

My favourite piece in the show is Tabitha Kyoko Moses' Hair Purse, curiously repellent and intriguing. I couldn't help thinking about the sporran my dad wore with his kilt when I was young!

I like Naori Priestly's work, I hadn't seen The Shadow of the Mother before, Louise Bourgeois, hovered in my mind, but with Naori's dark fairy tale edge.

Naori Priestly - The Shadow of the Mother

The painted carpets of Finnish artist, Silja Puranen are particularly strong. A combination of transfer photography, textile paint, soft pastels and stitching - new techniques and ancient techniques together making a highly distinctive style.

Silja Puranen - Siamese Twins

I wrote about about Rosalind Wyatt a while ago, and have only seen her Stitch Life of Others series in images, so was very pleased to get a chance to see something in the flesh.

Rosalind Wyatt - The Stitch Life of Others (part)

There are two textile works by Aberystwyth based Mary Lloyd Jones, I saw some of these pieces at Ruthin Craft Centre last year, and found them very engaging. I was a bit disappointed that there is only one piece by Laura Ford, I was hoping to have a chance to see some of her more recent work.

Overall I think it is a good show, but also a safe show in many ways - I would quite have liked to see some more experimental pieces - but it is a rapidly moving discipline and this is where publicly funded galleries are disadvantaged, the long lead in for curation and publicity always keeps the show a whisker behind the cutting edge.


  1. I'm off to see this today! I'm also looking forward to seeing Rosalind Wyatt's work up close and personal. After reading this I am quite intrigued to see it.

  2. Oh great! Enjoy! Be interested to hear your views on the show...

  3. Great post, and the "hair purse" reminds me of the bearded ladies in the circus of long ago...quite a compelling piece...such ambiguity and wit...Best, Cynthia

  4. Thanks for visiting Cynthia! I can see what you mean about the bearded lady...!


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