The Green Tapestry - Artist Influence
I'm writing some of these entries slightly out of sync as the year has picked up. I began this studio journal during lockdown and since we've 'unlocked' work has picked up leaving less time to write these little entries! Ffiona Lewis's exhibition The Green Tapestry was supposed to have opened around Christmas time at The Redfern Gallery but was one of the many events and occasions disrupted by Covid-19 and lockdown responses - and I'm only just sitting down to write about this now!
With brief re-openings and closings into the spring of 2021, I never managed to make it to the final exhibition 'The Green Tapestry', but I was very grateful to receive a copy of her catalogue with a wonderfully insightful essay on the works included. I'll admit that I also managed to glance at a few of the works whilst they were in her studio...so together, it feels an almost complete experience of the show!
The subject of the Green Tapestry paintings are the plants and shifting natural space of her garden and farm in Suffolk. In several images, there are various stages and time periods in the garden captured at once. Layers of plant growth and decomposition recorded all at once in a single image as the plants themselves are left to rise and fall in the artist's garden. The production of the paintings somewhat mirrors this temporal squeeze - the gesso boards record multiple acts of painting and repainting layered in much the same way. Reworked, painting in areas is rubbed back to a ghostly outline with new plants put in as they are recorded. Drips of paint are left running down the image when the subject they fell from has been eradicated from the scene in favour of a new representation of the same plant or space.
Ian Massey's excellent essay on the works references Lewis's enjoyment of the tiny wooden frames used in her schooldays to focus on certain areas of ecology during science lessons. This little boundary creating an opportunity to infinitely extract from one tiny space, as experienced within the artist's works today.
Works from The Green Tapestry are available through The Redfern Gallery. Works shown from top: Maidens on Marigold (2020); Cow Parsley; Parsley Cow (2020) as reproduction; Razzle Dazzle (2020); Pots (2020)