Rook & Raven presents ‘Punctured Perspectives’, the first UK solo show of British artist Kirstie MacLeod – exhibiting a wide spectrum of work that pays homage to the intricate skill of embroidery, a primary focus of the artist’s practice. MacLeod is known for her unique and contemporary approach to the fine art of embroidery and has become the subject of study in many distinguished needlepoint bodies including the Royal School of Needlework.
The artist is including works in her London show that will include ongoing projects such as the decade-long Unesco supported global embroidery project ‘Barocco’ and new works such as the ‘Lacuna series’; framed blocks of embroidered colours worked onto an aluminium mesh. ‘Fractured’, a series of delicate paintings created with layers of stitch-like marks, and ‘Pulse’, a large-scale, backlit, pin-hole metal drawing representing a satellite’s view into space, the image of which will be projected from floor to ceiling.
Funded by the British Council, ‘Barocco’ is a decade-long embroidery project by Macleod that is centred around a single red dress. Since 2009, the dress has travelled around the world being continuously embroidered and added to by 50 different participants to date. Its most recent contributors include the Bedouin Fanasina collective, a group of female embroiderers based in Egypt’s Sinai who provide economic independence and education to women in the region. Taken from the ancient Portuguese word for a “rough or imperfect pearl”, ‘Barocco’ is a performance piece where the artist sits within a central Perspex cube wearing and embroidering the ornate red dress that fills the installation cube around her.
Over the remaining five years, elements of ‘Barocco’ will be worked on and over by embroiderers around the globe until the dress is so heavily decorated that the dress and its bodice will be able to stand up on its own as a sculptural exhibit within its Perspex cube. Individually delicate and decorative, the unique stitches by people all over the world add the layers and layers of expression that create the strong and rigid armour of the art piece that is the ‘Barocco’ dress. The piece makes tangible the interplay through embroidery between a variety of cultures, each with their own identity and experience, who express themselves through their stitches.
The artist experiments with the idea of garments and dresses representing the self. Currently based in Somerset, MacLeod has exhibited widely at shows such as Art Dubai and institutions such as the Royal Academy of Arts, The ICA and The Barbican in London and has received numerous international art prizes such as the Valcellina Award for Textiles, Italy and the British Council. The artist’s work can also be seen in many notable private and commercial collections in London, and abroad.
MacLeod’s practice explores issues of identity, the subconscious and the passage of time through photography, film, painting, textile-based works and large-scale immersive multi-media performance installations. The artist’s work seeks to articulate specific events and interactions through a kaleidoscopic, emotion led vision. Her works embody dreamlike states, often using hidden codes and mythical symbolism to portray elements of the unconscious mind.
Kirstie MacLeod: Punctured Perspectives – Rook & Raven – until 4 April 2015