16 July 2019 There’s an oft-told story in my family about the time a friend’s kid drew on the living room wall, then denied it was her. The problem with escaping punishment was this: it was her own name she’d scrawled in crayon across the wallpaper.
This seemingly primal need to impose our markings on the world around us, from cave paintings to bus-stop graffiti, informs the raw, tactile installations of Jodie Carey. This small exhibition contains a series of huge canvases created by weaving together strips of its robust material coated in wet paint. The rippling surfaces are then patterned with tiny fragments of embroidery, faint areas of pastel paint or scratchy lines of colouring pencil.
Two things immediately hit you. First, the visceral undone-ness of the surfaces and, with it, a host of half-remembered memories of wind-battered beaches and torn flags whiplashed against a concrete wall. The second is the vast whiteness or uniform paleness of the material.
Both impressions turn out to be untrue the longer you look. Caught in the light, the woven strips take on the appearance of silk with intermittent ribbons diving through. Colours too, become clear all over the artworks. A band of spearmint blue is pasted across the bottom of one, while smears of margarine gold appear elsewhere along with coral, bottle-green and granite.
With the Anni Albers-esque weaving and thin strands of coloured thread trailing through the main widths, it’s possible to draw out themes of feminine craft and heirloom tapestries. But what comes across more strongly is the suggestion of antiquity and naturalness. These creations could have formed organically like branches growing around each other in a dark forest. And if they had, someone might well have carved a love heart or a dirty word into one.
© Studio Will Amlot. Image courtesy of Edel Assanti.