Uptown Art Scene

Fabrics contain plenty of metaphor. For instance, the combination of many individual fibres coming together to make one cloth can represent the Fabric of Life.

Clothes are a second skin we don that can express our inner self – “clothes maketh the (wo)man”.

Two artists showing just a hundred metres apart on Ponsonby Road share a common fascination with fabric, patterns and paint, and use their skill to project very different personalities.

Siân Torrington is a Wellington-based artist whose exhibition at OREXART is full of woven objects and collaged paintings, each a warm mesh of energetic lines in pinks, reds and egg yolk oranges.

The sculptural works are a delightful exploration of haptic sensations: soft, warm wools threaded into and around hard, shiny structures, with paint spread as much as a film as a colourant. They seem to be bodily objects, the result of both struggle and joy, dense with the experience of making. Tiny moments of stitched colour join wider pieces of stained and spattered cloth; supple limbs of leather contrast with rigid bamboo bones.

The temperature is cooler at {Suite} where Melbourne-based Tia Ansell presents Red Light Horizon. These works form dappled patterns with blues, greens, and browns. Hand-loomed fabric grids in tight regularity are interfered with by blocks of painted colour that both float on and slide into the woven background.
The colour relationships between fabric and paint are precise, almost close enough to conflate the space into an all-over effect, but just enough that the paint hovers slightly above the ground. The result is mesmerising, contemplative yet humming with a quiet dynamism.

While woven canvas is the staple for many painters, cloth that is perhaps more prosaic lends a relatability to these artworks, reminding us of clothing, deckchairs, dropsheets and furnishings. Yet the everyday has been transformed into something remarkable by these artists, and that is a wonderful thing.

EVAN WOODRUFFE, Studio Art Supplies


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