Things Put Differently, Gavin Fry. an exhibition of embroidered collages and cabinet material.

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


Things Put Differently, Gavin Fry.
30th April – 10th September 2023

Hand stitching describes both the functional and symbolic dimensions of joining and being attached, and as such it has become a daily social encounter for Gavin Fry.

In this exhibition Fry presents stitched works and ideas including works by others and found objects, the slow rhythms of hand-stitching allow the artist to carve out space for himself and make time for reflection. The embroidery here is not a rogue element but is integral to the making stages as a dialogic element that adds to both the narrative and the making process with its idiosyncratic imagery.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of having an art practice, is to use it as a trampoline to bounce around questions that might not otherwise get asked. By capturing initial information in journals and sketchbooks Fry can then marry ideas into questions and compositions from accidental discoveries and quiet collisions. It is these that then grow into embroideries; the complete process from find to end becoming a device to activate further inquiries. The themes explored in these works are identity, labelling, and the narrative associations of stitch. The material choices are deliberate: they enable the artist to play himself because his identity is partially constructed through making with stitch and thread. Roland Barthes in his essay The World as Object, discusses the transformation of things (and materials), and in line with this very logical alchemy Fry is “taking refuge within attributes”. For forty years the attributes of embroidery have become a productive epistemic practice enabling him to occupy both a personal and a historic social space because immersion in the craft is not an isolating encounter.

This work develops certain monstrosities (as well as pleasures) to make social ornaments and signs. It does so by using materials familiar to the artist so as not to inhibit/separate processes but make easier both the documentation and its results. These forms and material choices support and contextualize Fry’s ideas, in these works, embroidery surpasses its functional attributes because it is used here as a material practice that signifies metaphors of collaboration and separation. There are 26 embroidered works and one free hanging larger textile work.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2023
EventThings Put Differently - Wolfson College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Apr 202310 Sept 2023


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