Quay Arts OPEN 2019 winner Rachel Johnston is to present a solo exhibition of large-scale woven pieces, objects and photographs, that explore our relationship with place and, in particular, the landscape and geology of the Isle of Wight.
Rachel Johnston’s work is rooted in the structures and symbolism of textile language. She makes objects – woven gloves and shoes – that are worn in specific environments, most often in water. These objects become manipulated and shaped through use to embody a lived ‘moment’ in which layers of memory and physical engagement with a landscape come together.
This process then informs the construction of textural, large-scale woven pieces in a new representation of place.
In All Rivers Run North, the environment of the Isle of Wight becomes the focus, with pieces referencing the island’s geology and biosphere status. The exhibition title describes a geological peculiarity in that all the main Isle of Wight rivers run northwards, a result of the shift that took place when the island separated from the mainland thousands of years ago.
In new work, parallels are drawn between the sequential building of a woven structure and the formation of a landscape through time. The seismic shifts and forces that have shaped the island’s landscape will find parallels in the twists and tensions of the yarn. The human scale of the artworks will provoke questions about the consequences of human activity on the island as well as the value of looking and looking again, to find new ways of engaging with this unique place.
A new film collaboration with Island photographer Julian Winslow will also be shown, tracing the course of the River Medina from its source to the sea.
Rachel Johnston said:
“This has been a fantastic opportunity to develop my art practice in unexpected ways. I have really appreciated the openness and generosity of spirit that Quay Arts, fellow visual artists and environmentalists on the island, have offered. The experience has opened my eyes to the beauty of the island and brings into sharp focus the environmental challenges facing us all.”
The exhibition runs between 30th October and 2nd January and is free to experience.
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