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Manhattan - Hand Woven Tapestries

6th - 27th June 2015 (Private View 5th June)

Zimmer Stewart Gallery,

29 Tarrant Street, Arundel,

West Sussex

Katharine Swailes and Caron Penney travelled repeatedly to New York City over a twelve year period. During this influential time both artists were inspired by the urban landscape, street architecture, museum collections and natural environment. Mapping this journey through photography, note taking and sketches to their resulting work in woven textiles. 

‘Manhattan’ is the beginning of a new chapter for both the artists, one which has involved shedding the past and emerging into new avenues.

Zimmer Stewart Gallery

Swailes has created textiles for over 20 years, specifically working in tapestry for the last two decades. She specialises in both conventional flat wall works and smaller three-dimensional, sculptural pieces - as well as weaving large scale commissions at West Dean Tapestry Studio. Swailes is interested in the constructively open ended nature of the medium. Recent works explore the textures, systems and structure of Central Manhattan - using a limited palette of techniques, materials and colour. The inclusion of gold thread offers a contrast in structure to the natural fibres of cotton, linen and wool. This latest series of works draws on the collections in museums, the parks and streets of Manhattan. 


Museum of Modern Art tapestry
Seventh Avenue Tapestry

Penney has been producing tapestries for over 20 years and is a Master Tapestry Weaver. As well as working on high-profile commissions for the West Dean Tapestry Studio and her own Weftfaced Tapestry Workshop, Penney is a prolific exhibition-led weaver in her own right. ‘A defining characteristic of her oeuvre as an artist is the use of visual semiotics in expressing autobiographical themes.’* Penney’s artwork uses both references to the street architecture, and structural comparisons between the warp and weft and the gridded road systems in New York.  Often these themes respond to the ebb and flow of the daily migration across the city.  The subject matter draws comparisons between societies need to function and the individuals need for identity and their subtle co-existence. This careful balance is represented in the meticulous repetition of patterns and shapes in my tapestries. Penney’s artwork reproduces familiar visual signs arranging them in sequences and rhythms. The colour red establishes a sense of separation within a dominant monochromatic palette.


*TAPESTRY - A Woven Narrative - Black Dog Publishing


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