LAWRENCE CALVER AT DE BROCK GALLERY
- Until 11.05.22
© Image courtesy of De Brock Gallery
De Brock is pleased to present its first exhibition with the English artist Lawrence Calver (b. 1992, Suffolk, UK), titled "Assiduity".
Calver's material and medium led artistic practice is sustained by the spontaneous discovery of a rich variety of vintage found fabrics, each invited to contribute their own inherent history and personality when switched and sewed into his contemporary compositions. Underpinned by the artist’s academic background in fashion direction (having completed an undergraduate study at the London College of Fashion), Calver combines and collages textiles from his vast collection, curating or conducting as much as he is creating.
Chronology is confused as linen, cotton, hemp and wool meet reclaimed and repurposed antique tapestries to form unique textile timelines. In Steptoe, 2020, for example, we see patches of embroidered linen dating from the 17th century juxtaposed with Japanese chintz fabric originating from the Taisho period of the early 1900s, while in Fall, 2021, we find linen grain sacks alongside snippets of 18th century French Aubusson tapestry.
There is an alluring tactility to Calver’s textiles, their surfaces scarred with stitching, those present pasts writ in the warp and weft lines of the weave. Storytelling is achieved through texture and tone, with the artist utilising organic and natural dyes to stain his swathes of cotton or linen, commanding colour by employing ancient craft techniques such as clay painting or mud washing.
In previous bodies of work, the artist had aligned himself with the minimalist ideas and ideals of modernism, maintaining a muted, constrained colour palette and occupying the admired middle ground between abstraction and representation. However, here and in more recent works, Calver introduces stripes and strips of playful patterns or bold colours, in stark contrast against their stained black backdrops.
Elsewhere the addition of text appears, with Assiduity - the virtue of expressing great care and attention to one’s work - emblazoned across its titular textile, or the logo for famed French fashion house Dior sewed into another. Narrative is also offered increased attention, in rare figurative depictions such as Falling Man, 2021, or by inviting viewers to draw connections and connotations from the inclusion of, for example, an embroidered map of England and Wales dating from the 18th century (British Isles, 2021).
Ultimately, Calver’s practice and artworks are symbolic of the wider contemporary art world’s continued interest in classical craft-based mediums such as ceramics or textiles, adopted by artists seeking solace in time-honoured traditions or searching for that special sense of satisfaction that comes from hand-crafted, haptic modes of creation.