Saturday, August 01, 2015

Olga de Amaral at the Louise Blouin Foundation

A Beautiful Exhibition - Olga de Amaral, October 2013.

One day in London I took a train to the Louise Blouin Foundation to see an exhibition by an extraordinary artist.

Olga de Amaral is a Columbian artist who has spent her life working with woven thread, especially linen and cotton woven together. She also uses acrylic paint and gold leaf on these fabric strips. She says of these strips:

“These woven fragments are the “words” I use to begin creating landscapes of surfaces, textures, emotions, memories, meanings and connections.” (p.208 Olga de Amaral, the Mantle of Memory.)

These beautiful and compelling works cross the boundaries between fabric, sculpture and painting. They are stunning to see in person.  The titles intrigued me - Escrito, Alquimia, Strata, Lienzo, Luna Oro to name a few. Some of the works seem deceptively simple at first, but looking closer one becomes aware of the layers of complex threads, changes in texture, differences between the front and back of the weaving and the shimmering, changing light on the surfaces. At one point I had the odd sense that someone had taken one of my early works and turned it into a hanging sculpture. But what a sculpture! It was humbling and enlightening to see an artist working with gold, silver and intense colour and thread with such amazing results. 

I have seen many exhibitions in my life. I think this will always be one of the most memorable.

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