1st Oct 2002 - 8th Dec 2002
Kathleen McFarlane is a textile artist who has transformed the world of tapestry weaving in Britain.
This retrospective exhibition featured a selection of Kathleen McFarlane’s flat tapestries, 3D sculptural textiles, paintings and recent works in Perspex. Fabrications pays homage to the fact that, at 80 years of age, McFarlane continues to push the medium of textile way beyond its traditional boundaries.
Much of McFarlane’s work is inspired by natural forms, animal, vegetable or mineral, and communicates organic growth or decay. The coils, folds and twists of her dramatic 3D fibreworks, made of woven, knotted or crocheted sisal, are evocative of sea urchins, fungi and bodily organs. They have the power to both attract and repel. Her huge furred wings or cloak-like forms are suggestive of the giant pelts of flayed animals or creatures in flight. McFarlane’s flat tapestries are striking abstract colour landscapes, which feature strong contrasts and juxtapositions in tones.
McFarlane’s relationship with the University of East Anglia began over thirty years ago when her husband Professor James McFarlane joined the new university as founding Dean of European Studies. As an artist McFarlane has made an outstanding contribution to UEA life in the form of two commissions, the first in 1995 for the Elizabeth Fry building (John Miller and Partners) and the second in 2002, a magnificent tapestry celebrating the ritual of the academic procession, which now hangs in the Council Chamber.
A catalogue is available from Cornerhouse Publications.