Port of Entry – cross stitch journey

Port of Entry opened this week at the Sun Pier House Gallery in Chatham, the work on show is produced in response to travels and research around the nature of visual collecting and transcription from sketchbooks, from cultures and communities as diverse as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, London and Chatham. It looks at the nature of the language of man-made objects as symbols, both recognised and remembered or shared, in terms of agreed knowledge and narrative.

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These initial observations and memories have been translated into a series of drawings which respond to the nature of visual motifs and metaphors commonly associated with home-spun shared knowledge embedded in the decorative nature of ceramics and textiles.

This has culminated in a series of commissioned cross stitch embroideries working with designer maker Linnet Hannan, transcribing the drawings in to a cotton, cross stitch language associated with both traditions of European samplers and rural embroideries from China.

The work will also be shown in October at the Eagle Gallery in Clerkenwell, London as part of Agency, an exhibition showcasing the work of artists who make up The Artists Agency.

Port of Entry

Clough Port Of Entry PR DRAFT 21JUNE18 copy.pages

I have a solo exhibition Port of Entry opening on the 9th August until 9th September at Sun Pier House, Chatham, Kent. Preview: Wednesday 8 August 6pm – 8pm

See the Press Release below for more information, written by Mark Segal at the
Artists Agency of which I am a selected artist.

Port of Entry is a range of new drawings, prints and embroidery by Gary Clough exploring architectural space and geographical locations, while challenging notions of the imagined, the remembered and the known. In addition Clough is shaping an individual response to the different cultures engaged within his travels through China and the UK.

The images emerge from the habitual practise of drawing that artists use to explore and process the world around them. These drawings, most often contained within the intimate and private spaces of the sketchbook, happen when no one is looking, a form of practice that keeps the muscles of the hand, eyes and imagination working together, constituting a speculative work of re- imagining.

The sketchbook is an intrinsic part of Gary’s practice, operating as both virtual and literal studio and collective cognitive landscape. The pages demonstrate how ideas are both generated and revisited in a constant process of analysis and reflection. It is driven by an innate playfulness and an ongoing discourse with the nature of the perceived, known and made.The sketchbooks innate mobility is clear in the pages as they document the artist’s journeys, stopping offpoints and destinations through geographical, historical and disciplinary visitations and positioning. For the first time, Clough has made new works utilising cross stitch approaches, borrowing from its tradition as a homespun practice for documenting personalised interpretations of the world and mirroring his use of the sketch book as a starting point for assimilating the made environment. The work plays with the notion and challenges of the transformation into motif associated with this craft tradition, combined with the blue and white pallet associated with rural Chinese embroideries.

The work in Port of Entry engages further with the notion of a shared entry, or starting point in the development of a repository, or archive of a highly personal genus of objects arranged and presented as sets, families and suites of images. The genealogy and heritage of the images draw from influences as broad as the pages of the Argos catalogue and the shelves of B&Q and Pound Land, to the Song and Tang dynasty blue and white Chinese ceramics, to the cotton indigo embroideries of 18th century rural China. Clough has focused on developing contemporary notions of patterns and symbols as visual metaphor, intrinsic to global traditions of shared and/or remembered narrative histories within the creative industries and its cultural currency. The work attempts to investigate further contemporary notions of and relevance to the use of visual metaphors, motifs and symbols generated in the traditions of the decorative object essential to the sharing and evolving of shared visual language over generations through mnemonic and cultural exchange and interaction.

The work displayed in Chatham allow Clough to develop new drawings and new ways of working in the context of the architectural spaces and this geographical locations. The project’s location in Chatham is essential as it directly engages with its position as a key cultural gateway and interface historically, for the UK which draws from an existing community who share the cultural heritage of the images, mark making, pattern and colour of the work. Chatham’s historical positioning as a key military and commercial port and literary and narrative heritage is a conscious influence and reference for the artist’s 20 year association with the location and communities. The exhibition also enables the engagement with the broader community of Chatham through national and international connections through the Universities and Education sector, supported by an artist talk and lecture.

 

New Projects: 2018

Working with Shenzhen National Art museum and Sun Pier House, Chatham and supported by the Artist Agency  I am in the process of developing new work for an exhibition in April, May and August, September.

 

Port of Entry is a new body of work developed from sketchbook images, informing a series of large, site-specific wall drawings, inferring a connection between Shenzhen and Chatham. Port of Entry investigates the idea of a port, not only as physical gateway, but also a conceptual notion of entry point for cultural and social information exchange and discourse.

The second part of the project will be a another series of site-specific wall drawings developed from images produced in Shenzhen. These drawings will be developed through workshops with Primary school students, investigating the nature of the imagined and remembered.

The project will culminate in a publication which will document the exhibitions and the ongoing dialogue between the artist and the two locations.