Sometimes, intention and outcome do not marry… and yet, opposites attract… so they often court for a time.
Such was my experience, as I, inadvertently, paid a visit to Rook and Raven Gallery, the day after a much-anticipated Private View of ‘Punctured Perspectives’, the first U.K solo show by British Artist, Kirstie Macleod.
Reaching my destination with an hour to spare, I absorbed the environs surrounding its Rathbone Place location, meandering through Stephen and Charlotte Streets, winding my way, bobbin-like, around Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street… visiting bookshops and renewing my familiar vista of this global capital city, with replenished hidden gems of the ‘boutique’ descriptions, from hotels, to high-fashion!
Finding it all-too-easy to get happily lost in newfound objets d’intérêts, I retraced my route to the gallery. Now, past time for the event to begin, an event filled with the promise of multi-disciplinary artistry, I stood quietly, in wonderment at the stillness. With fewer guests than I had expected…in fact, just yours truly… the perfectly-timed arrival of the ever-accommodating Rook and Raven gallerista, to open the door, cheered my heart!
“Excuse me? Has the P.V been cancelled?”
The kindly face gently answered, “The P.V was yesterday…but you’re more than welcome to come in and have a look around!”
I cannot tell you the exact entirety of my emotional excursion, however, I’d compare the spike from crestfallen to elation, to the milliseconds it takes Lewis Hamilton to reach the corner first, at the start of a high-octane F1 race!
I can tell you the sheer bliss of being the only visitor within a space, itself, adorned with mixed-media and textile art of the most gently arresting order. Peppered, at intervals, with lively exchanges as to the dynamism and richness of Kirstie Macleod’s wide-ranging works, I marvelled at the ambition wrapped within deceptively simple formats and materials. I am drawn to the keenly-observed flight formations expressed in matt black thread upon cotton. Displayed one after the other, they hypnotically echo in the mind, as the titles ‘Murmur I’ and ‘Murmur II’, suggest. Juxtaposed in both position and hue, is ‘Lacuna’. A contemporary celebration of colour, the vibrancy is emboldened by a succession of acute, embroidered angles which cut like the Shard against a cumulo nimbus sky. Move, if you will, to ‘Mu’, 132 x 162 cm of glossy red, tonically reading as MAC’s ‘Ruby Woo’ with lashings of clear ‘Lipglass’ hovering atop… The drilled holes only adding a glorious imperfection, similar to the gentle fade of lipstain, over a giddy evening of fine dining! The textural exploration continues into ‘Flow’, where stark matt white creates a backdrop upon which the drilled finish portrays a prickly-heat, insistent energy.
The momentum is topped and stopped by ‘Barocco’*.
It is the unique centrepiece of the collection….
A highly-decorated gown of deepest red, which is exhibited within a perspex cube….
…the embellishment, of which, has been hand-embroidered by 50 global contributors, thus far! With each artisan comes a stunning narrative of idiosyncratic stitches, symbolism and distinct prismatic combinations, to mesmerise the onlooker. It is a gown of concentrated cultural conversations, which has taken extreme concentration to express and just as Kirstie’s performance of sewing the dress, whilst she wears it, you almost find yourself dancing around the cube in order to trace the path of these most intricately-layered patterns! Being a 10 year-project, due to end in 2019, the final embellished design of the dress is yet unknown, however the aim is that, resultant of the extent of needlework, the soft fabric will eventually become a robust sculptural piece, strong enough to stand, unsupported.
Although tonight will see the finale presentation of ‘Barocco’, before the piece travels to its next destination, due to popular demand, the entire exposition has been extended and this stunning acclamation of embroidery can be seen at the Rook and Raven Gallery until April 11th 2015. As with the best design motifs, I wholeheartedly encourage repeat visits, but be prepared to want to move and to be moved…because this ‘rough or imperfect pearl’ is a diamond of a ‘stand-alone’ exhibition!
Gallery Opening Hours: Tuesday ~ Friday: 11 a.m > 6.30 p.m; Saturday: 11 a.m > 6 p.m; Sunday: Closed; Monday: By Appointment Only
* Barocco: Ancient Portuguese for ‘rough of imperfect pearl’…
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