Highlights from CONTEMPLATION : SPRING INTO WATER now showing at CBG

Curated by Jenny Blyth for The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford OX2 7JN

29 September - 10 October 2020

Textile Paintings by Cassandra WALL and paintings by Chloe FREMANTLE

The exhibition is a celebration of the beauty of Nature and its liberating and calming effect on the mind.  Lockdown has enforced a slowdown in pace of life in all its noise and complexities, giving us a unique opportunity to re-engage with the sheer beauty and voice of the natural world around us, and the transience that makes it so precious.

Whether through painting or textile, artists Chloe FREMANTLE and Cassandra WALL, working both for thirty years and more, contemplate that beauty in nature expressed through patterning.  In the expression of the multiplicity and noise in patterning, there is ultimately silence and calm.

Quilting and patchwork brings to mind the Amish Culture where strength is enhanced through simplicity.  The repetition in patterning, of colour and shape, and the juxtapositions inform that simplicity and strength.

Wall’s compositions, each created over months, present as contemporary textile paintings floating in tray frames, unglazed.  Her methodology is hand-stitched patchwork, but her language is of tessellation and colourfield abstraction towards a state of meditation, delighting in the journey of colour and shape that nature presents dancing towards that end.  All is beautifully expressed as Snow Into Water.

Cassandra Wall has been working with textiles since childhood. All her compositions such as Heather Hills are initiated sur le motif capturing the spirit of the landscape - the crests of purple heather-clad hills with backdrafts of golden green mosses.  Initially, she creates collages in torn papers, precursors and hints of the patterns and tessellations to come.  Transposing her ‘sketches’ to cloth, involves sourcing vintage and hand-coloured fabrics that she tones with tea, matching her swatches against her chosen subjects en plein air

Once her patterning is decided upon, the tessellation begins and her textile paintings are stitched :  Hastings : Net Sheds; Dungeness : Winter and Summer (Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage on the shingle at Dungeness); Heather Hills in the Peak District; and Sunset Islands (Dodecanese); exquisite are her Autumn Floor with leaves underfoot, Impressionist Garden - a Spring explosion in fresh pinks and primrose yellows, and the golden hum of hexangonal Honeycomb.