Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Dorothy Caldwell Silent Ice/Deep Patience @ AGP 7

Dorothy Caldwell Map without words, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
With dimensions a staggering 9'4" by 8'5", Map without words is monumental. For curators and some gallery goers, size matters, and this textile, as well as four others (that I will share in future posts) deliver. Dorothy lavishes each textile with such care and detail that it frustrates me that, unless the gallery provides a skyjack, I can't see it all up close and personal. A passage from Canadian mystery author Louise Penny's exquisite novel The Long Way Home helped me appreciate large scale a little more. Her principal character Armande Gamache is standing in the middle of a gallery filled with the paintings of Quebec artist Clarence Gagnon and is moved to tears: "Gamache turned. He was surrounded. Immersed. Not drowning, but buoyed. Baptized (Penny, 209)." Standing in the main space of the Art Gallery of Peterborough, I was immersed in the deeply sensitive work of Dorothy Caldwell. 
Dorothy Caldwell Map without words, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
I am grateful for the details in which I could revel. The above image of the midpoint of the textile, reveals that Map without words consists of four large quadrants of cotton imbued with wax and silkscreen resist, then finessed with sensitive stitching and appliqué.
Dorothy Caldwell Map without words, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Note the couched horizontal thread is a tonal gradation from white to black. Did Dorothy dye this herself? Probably.
Dorothy Caldwell Map without words, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
To capture this detail, I had to summon my yoga training and stretch high. Thank goodness I have some height in my favour. Dorothy's screen printed marks echo her stitching.
Dorothy Caldwell Silent Ice/Deep Patience, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
Silent Ice/Deep Patience is 23" square. The drawn silkscreened grid was also used on Wet Lake/Dry Lake and Wandering Time.
Dorothy Caldwell Silent Ice/Deep Patience, 2013; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2014
This cluster of appliqué from the lower left hand side of the textile is a modern equivalent to Boro.

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

1 comment:

Judy Martin said...

Your writing about this exhibit is so fantastic, it brings the feeling I had last May when I viewed the work in Peterborough myself - right back.

Thank you for the many detailed images and also for your educated commentary, Karen. These should be published as a review in Canadian Art.

Well done.
xxx
And yay for Dorothy Caldwell . What a Canadian star.