REVIEW: Dovecot Studios: The Art of Modern Tapestry, Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke - until March 13 (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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REVIEW: Dovecot Studios: The Art of Modern Tapestry, Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke - until March 13
IF YOU hear the word ‘tapestry’ and think of fusty browns and rusty red based pieces, then the Willis Museum’s latest free entry exhibition will open your eyes to its beauty and possibility.
The colour and variety of tapestries on show in this touring display from Dovecot Studios is extremely impressive, many of the pieces gorgeous works of art in their own right.
Dovecot Studios is a century old tapestry studio which operates from a renovated Victorian swimming pool in Edinburgh. Its website explains that it was “founded in 1912 by the Marquess of Bute... [and] evolved from the renowned William Morris Craft Studio at Merton Abbey in Wimbledon.”
And it has remained at the forefront of the creative arts ever since by originating collaborations between commissioners and artists and weavers.
On show at The Willis are several of the Scottish painter and printmaker Dame Elizabeth Blackadder’s pieces, including Cats and Orchids from 1993, and Toy 1 and Toy 2 . The exhibition reveals that she and the Studio have collaborated on multiple projects – more than 33 full-sized tapestries and miniatures together over 30 years - and informs that Cats and Orchids is typical of her still life subjects.
Among the other pieces to capture the attention is Rainbow, Star, Target, Heart by Peter Blake from 2012. Blake was a key figure in the British pop art movement in the mid 1970s and this edition of 12 is a pop art revival from 2011.
The generations are represented across the selections. Young artist Jamie Tetsill has designed a fantastic rug, entitled, appropriately enough, RUG-01, which you can’t fail to miss in the middle of the exhibition. It has been crafted and weaved by Douglas Grierson and Jonathan Cleaver using a semi-automatic process involving a hand-tufting gun.
Dovecot’s apprentices were exclusively boys until the 1960s, so it’s nice to see the work of its present young ladies on show. Emily Fogarty and Freya Sewell, currently under a three year apprenticeship, have produced Remix 2012, a wonderful collage inspired by the past output of the studio and images from its history.
It’s well worth a closer look, as is all of this collection, another winner at the Willis.