Here and Now: Stitches in time

Here and Now: Stitches in time; an exhibition showcasing the striking stitched canvas of textile artist Alice Kettle.

Alice trained as a painter, gained a BA degree in Fine Art Painting and then followed her childhood love of stitch and textile, achieving a MA in Textile Art. This collaboration of skills is evident in her large scale pieces which blur the boundaries between art and craft; taking on the characteristics of a painting, drawing and building texture with thread, as an artist does with a palette and brush.

Taking centre stage at our exhibition is The Dog Loukanikos and the Cat’s Cradle (2015); a commentary on the recent political situation in Greece, and Europe in general, exploring issues of power and powerlessness. It is confident and bold in subject matter, colour and composition.

Inspired by myths and stories in all forms but especially books — past and present — Alice uses thread and the craft of stitching to tell the narrative in her representational pieces.

For Alice, her purpose is to have an emotional connection with her work. Articulating her response to the world creatively — drawing in stitch allows her to express and convey meaning differently to other media. Working from the back of the canvas, intuitively feeling her way, Alice layers and creates texture before finally refining to full form. As shown above in her making-of film.

The Dog Loukanikos and the Cat’s Cradle (2015)

Artist statement:

“Three girls are playing cat’s cradle with string. The cat’s cradle is a language and game of twisting thread in sequence to make lines of pattern. Here the thread binds the girls together whilst another cat’s cradle entangles the line of riot police.

In the recent Greek protests against austerity measures, the stray dogs have become entangled into the conflict, symbolising those who are attacked. Loukanikos, as one of those dogs and in being homeless, fights in fearless protest; it is a game of cat and dog. The work plays with issues of power and powerlessness, with lines of engagement, connections, twists, knots and patterns of peoples. In playing cat’s cradle the girls use a continuous thread to play the game that is common all over the world. It is a symbol of unity. The cat and dog become one.

There is also a reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s catastrophic dark science fiction book titled Cat’s Cradle, which confronts us with the possibility of destruction of home, of Armageddon and the prospect of surviving it. I see in the dog the fierce attack to reclaim what is familiar and what is known.”

At Circus, we are inspired by the power of storytelling. The best stories draw on the familiarity of past traditions, connect with contemporary details and offer a glimpse of the future. This exhibition examines how the most compelling stories and experiences live in the moment, the here and now, and create memories that are timeless.

With thanks to Contemporary Applied Arts.

CAA (Contemporary Applied Arts) is London’s original multi-disciplinary applied arts gallery, which champions only the very best of British craft. | @caagallery

January – March 2016