04 July 2012

Art I like - Jessica Rankin

White Cube, Hoxton Square, is showing drawings and "sewn pieces" by Jessica Rankin till the end of the week (7 July). I found it intense and satisfying.

The exhibition is called "Skyfolds 1941-2010" and draws upon maps of the sky and constellations, stitched onto organdie or drawn on huge sheets of paper. A book is available but doesn't show the current work, so I didn't buy it, but looked long and hard and took notes -- and thought about how these configurations and methods of depiction, and what lies behind them, ties in with my current work. The stitched circles are so much like the "memory holes" that developed during the winding of my memory ball, for example. The stitching on transparent fabric looks effortless, with long thread ends dangling at the back, and blocks of colour made with long stitches. The connected stitching that forms the writing is a technical lesson.

The working methods look simple and straightforward, but because of the amount of labour, the effect is rich and dense and various. Here it is described as "a tangle of language and images, slowly and painstakingly released by the artist's hand"

It's interesting to note that she was taught to sew by her babysitter! She's inspired by all sorts of writing, especially the Lunch Poems by Frank O'Hara - which* make another reason to be grateful to Chance that brought me news of this exhibition this morning ... so glad I went, so glad to connect with the work of this artist. And with O'Hara.

*He wrote something I loved a long time ago and am delighted to re-encounter (read it all here) -

Mothers of America
                               let your kids go to the movies!
get them out of the house so they won't know what you're up to
it's true that fresh air is good for the body
                                                              but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images 
and when you grow old as grow old you must
                                                                  they won't hate you

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