Archive for Sue Lawty

Dispatches: Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth, UK

Posted in Commissions, enamel, stone with tags , , on February 20, 2011 by arttextstyle

Calculus, by Sue Lawty, 2m x 3m, natural stone on gesso. photo by John Coombes

 

Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution, opens February 12th at the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and runs through April 9, 2011.  The exhibition, which was curated by artist Helen Carnac for Craftspace, “considers how the practice of contemporary craft making embraces similar values and philosophies to those supported by the Slow Movement.  Both think through where things are made, by whom and the importance of provenance. They ask us to slow down, perhaps not literally but certainly philosophically, and to reflect on other and perhaps more thoughtful ways of doing things.”  Taking Time features 19 international artists, makers and designers, including Sue Lawty, Matthew Harris, Heidrun Schimmel and Sonya Clark, whose making practice and work connects with these ideas. In different and sometimes overlapping ways they examine the world through making and in places quietly ask questions about global and local conditions that we find ourselves in today. The exhibition aims to show that contemporary craft practice and its methodologies can generate a modern and timely response to current social debates.

Sue Lawty provided in-progress images and described the process of making of Calculus, her work large and meticulously crafted work for the Taking Time exhibition on her V&A blog  http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1395_lawty/wordpress last January. In making the work, she wrote, “hundreds and thousands of decisions were wrestled and questioned in researching, collecting, sorting, selecting, organising, ordering, laying out, composing… The process is by its nature, a meditative and slow affair. I found myself considering how each tiny found fragment of rock laid out in each single row, echoed the minute subtle nuances and individualities embedded in all the rows of all the fragments of woven cloth I’d encountered in the V&A stores. Each unique mark and decision of infinitesimal difference subscribing to the language of the whole.”

The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery was home to another fascinating installation, Labelled, by Dail Behennah, from February 2009 to May 2010  http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/lookingin_lookingout.pdf.

Labelled-by-Dail-Behennah

Labelled was made of 490 suspended enamel labels, hung in three layers forming a circle over 2m wide. Each enamel was printed with a label from natural history specimens within the Museum’s collections. These specimens were collected and intended for study. The labels were written by curators and collectors over the centuries and record various details about the specimens. One of the core aims of Labelled was to provoke viewers into thinking about why we collect and what can be learned from these specimens. The collections have a genuine scientific importance and are studied to help understand species and habitats in the past as well as in the present. The glittering enamels Behennah used reflected the preciousness of the natural world and different species. The circle was punctuated by red labels, which indicated an endangered or extinct species and reminded viewers of the fragility of the natural world.

Behennah says she was always interested in the idea of the collector’s cabinet which aimed to collect and preserve knowledge. “Without natural history collections in museums, and their associated information, we would not know which species are threatened, on the verge of extinction or already extinct,” says Behennah. “Some, such as the dodo and passenger pigeon, may live on in folklore, but species of insignificant-looking insects or fish can disappear without trace if they have not already been recorded, classified and labelled by collectors in the past, and preserved in museums today.” It was Behennah’s hope that the installation would engender debate about museums and their role, as well as debates surrounding species diversity and conservation. “These are important topics,” Behennah notes, “especially now that we are appearing to witness climate change and habitat movement and reduction.” The Museum’s website still includes additional information, including and interview with Behennah, images of the installation process and some of the specimens and more. http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/lookingin_lookingout.pdf

An example of an enamel label, of the sort Dail Behennah prepared for her installation work, Labelled. A large part of the value of a museum is contained in its labelling and scholarship, a fact that is generally not acknowledged. Each of the 490 enamels in Labelled is printed with a label from natural history specimens within the Plymouth City Museum’s collections.

The Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is at Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AJ.

Eco-Art News: World Beach Project

Posted in Eco-Art with tags , , on May 14, 2010 by arttextstyle
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Pattern made by Sue Lawty on a south Devon beach

Sue Lawty World Beach Video

If you have ever aspired to be an Eco-Artist, the World Beach Project is your chance. A global art project devised by Sue Lawty while she was artist-in-residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the World Beach Project is open to anybody, anywhere, of any age. Building on the experience many of us have of making patterns on beaches and shorelines, this project combines the simplicity of making patterns with stones with the complexities of shape, size, colour, tone, composition, similarity and difference. Lawty’s idea for this project has always been based around patterns made with stones. That means no seashells, seaweed, driftwood or other flotsam and jetsam commonly found on beaches.

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Lawty has explained her inspiration: “The idea for the World Beach Project arrived in my head fully formed and in an instant. It popped up by way of responding to the response to my work using small stones, which in its turn, is a response to the land – specifically, rock. Whether a line of quartz splitting a rock face or a huge folded mountain range, the structure of rock talks of the structure of our planet. It is like a map of time – the earth drawing itself on a massive scale. And whether stones are satisfyingly smooth… or like long thin fingers… or beautifully, almost purely round; whether they are knobbly, shiny, dull, crinkly, holey, patterned or plain, black or white – they reflect the language of their making i.e. how they look in this de-constructed state is as a direct result of their construction, probably millions of years ago. I find this exciting. World Beach was conceived as a global drawing project; a stone drawing project that would speak about time, place, geology and the base instinct of touch. Drawings made on shorelines all over the world, which although erased by the next tide or rains, would be collected within the V&A to become a permanent record of the individual human desire to make pattern. To pick up a rock, is to touch base. Touching stones gives us a primal, spiritual connection with the earth. When we handle a stone, we hold in our hands a small drawing, a tiny piece of the map; we are holding time. That’s why.”

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'Hells Mouth, North Wales ' Jess Hutchinson

It’s easy to get involved.  More than 800 people have participated from Ross Island, Antarctica to Cape Town, South Africa.  Go to the map and pick your favorites. (Some of ours: Rarotonga, Oceania, Mt. Hood, Washington, Klive Beach and Eastbourne.) Watch Sue Lawty explain how to get involved in the project by watching the World Beach Video . Then go to the V&A website for instructions on adding your art http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/textiles/lawty/world_beach/ for instructions on adding your art

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10th Wave III: Online– The next best thing to being there

Posted in Art, Bamboo, Exhibitions, Installations, linen, Mixed Media, Safety Pins, Sculpture, silk, Waxed Cotton, Willow, Wire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2009 by arttextstyle
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Our first online exhibit, the10th Wave III: Online, opens today. The exhibit is a carefully curated selection of works presented in installation shots, images of individual works and detail photos. Approximating the in-person experience, viewers can “walk” through 26 images of the exhibit installed; click to view each of the 125 works in the show more closely, focus in on images of dozen of details and click to read more about each of the artists in the exhibition. “Images of individual works of art online are commonplace,” says Tom Grotta, president of browngrotta arts. “We have tried, instead, to give viewers a sense of the work in space, combined with the option of looking more closely at the pieces that interest them, just as they would have if they were visiting the exhibit in person.”

The artists in the 10th Wave III are experimenting with forms and techniques in novel and surprising ways, exploring new relationships among structure, design, color, and pattern.” They work in a wide range of materials from silk, stainless steel and rubber to recycled raincoats and linen to tree bark, safety pins and telephone books. Among the artists in the online exhibition are Lewis Knauss, Lia Cook, Gyöngy Laky from the US, Sue Lawty from the UK, Ritzi Jacobi from Germany, Jin-Sook So from Sweden, Carolina Yrarrázaval from Chile and Hisako Sekijima and Jiro Yonezawa from Japan.

The 10th Wave III: Online runs through December 20, 2009.

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