Friday, 20 June 2014

Dorothy Caldwell Silent Ice Deep Patience @ Art Gallery of Peterborough 1

Dorothy Caldwell Silent Ice Deep Patience Ochre dyed textiles; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Last week I trekked out to Peterborough to photograph (with permissions from Dorothy Caldwell and the fine staff at the Art Gallery of Peterborough) Dorothy Caldwell's solo exhibition Silent Ice Deep Patience, on until June 22, 2014. I spent more than two hours in the gallery looking, taking pictures, jotting down notes about the work and my responses to it. By the end of the day, I had written fourteen pages. This is an exhibition that calls me to take my time to think and write about it. I'll share more in other blog posts. This exhibition is travelling to the Cambridge Galleries in January 2015 and then on to St. Mary's University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia in March 2015. A publication is in the works.
Dorothy Caldwell Absorbing Place, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Absorbing Place is one of my favourite pieces in the show. It is 18" X 24" and mounted on industrial felt. Dorothy dyed/stained the cotton fabric with earth ochre in Australia and then stitched and appliquéd the surface.
Dorothy Caldwell Absorbing Place detail; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Celeste Scopelites, Director of the Art Gallery of Peterborough, told me that India Flint was Dorothy Caldwell's guide in Australia and they were given access to a protected ochre pit on a sheep ranch. The five textiles in the top picture: Lake, Absorbing Place, Flying Over Salt Lakes, Human Trace, and Pink Hill were all coloured with earth ochres. The range of colour is astonishing.
Dorothy Caldwell Absorbing Place detail; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I've long been interested in colouring fabrics with natural substances, and ochre is new to me. Inspired by this substance, I'm now reading about it in Victoria Finlay's Colour: Travels Through the Paint Box, a book I highly recommend.
Dorothy Caldwell Absorbing Place detail; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I'll write more about this exhibition in a series of posts. I'll likely write more about Absorbing Place as well.

I highly recommend reading Judy Martin's post about this show. It was her photographs and writing that compelled me to make the long drive to see the work.

All photos were taken with permission from Dorothy Caldwell and the fine staff of the Art Gallery of Peterborough.


india flint said...

the back country of Australia is indeed exquisitely beautiful. i think it gets under the skin more deeply than most, but i could be a little biased about home. ochre stains cloth and permeates souls...

Valerie Knapp said...

thanks for this Karen, and I'm so happy to read it will be moving to Cambridge, I get a second chance…

Judy Martin said...

I love how you focused on just the one piece in this post.

Dorothy's work is very rich and gives artists such as yourself a lot to consider.


Alison Schwabe said...

This piece 'Absorbing Place' truly captures the spirit of so much of our Australian Outback, in which I have spent a large portion of my life. Colour and stitch have been combined to convey the vast emptines that has its own texture and shapes that only truly become apparent when you are out there. I was privileged to attend a few days in a workshop by Dorothy a few years ago, and it thrills me whenever I see her newer work. This would have been a lovely exhibition to see.

Karen said...

Alison, I've seen this show twice now (once in Peterborough and again in Cambridge) and it is worth spending time with. As always, Dorothy is a generous soul.

Wen Redmond said...

the deep meditative quality is projected, even on my computer screen. It speaks to the depths we can go when we step away.