Structures Form a Field, Once a Single Line is Drawn Exposing Fragments. Group exhibition, Seventeen Gallery, London, 2019

Structures Form a Field, Once a Single Line is Drawn Exposing Fragments, a group show, curated by Neringa Dastoor as an indirect response to the artist David Raymond Conroy’s residency at Seventeen Gallery. Participating artists: Neringa Dastoor, Richard McVetis, Archana Pathak, YiMiao Shih

A loosely curated exhibition slowly opening a conversation on the subject of retail space and our understanding of it as a commercial phenomenon and its resonances with fast fashion. Displayed works appear to be in progress, allowing manufactured artefacts to become open, honest (occasionally satirical) independent narratives themselves.
It may be that ‘the medium is the message’ since artists use textiles or canvas (the media used for centuries in the art of fashion) as a way to convey differently angled narratives and reveal individual/independent perspectives on this complex subject matter which is constantly physically and conceptually manufacturing our lived experiences. But here textiles are not for sale or wholesale; here stories have space (and time) to present and expose their origins.

Gallery I
1. The Performance
Artists performing their work is on show as a way to slowly pull one’s mind into the intimate and focused state of making itself. As one sees a repetitive action an artefact is being produced. It is hard but try to stop wondering about how it will ‘sit’ in the big world of retail.

2. The Objects
Displayed objects are actual work tools used by artists in the show and during the performance but they also are objects simply available in shops to buy. The difference is the value, in this case they are more valuable because of having had a particular use. Objects as tools are essential but do we need retail spaces of the size of the cities in order to obtain them?

Gallery II
3. Letters & Markers. Oak gall ink on mixed textiles, w1000 x h4000mm.
Dastoor’s piece is composed of drawings made by public and opens up a debate on the aspect of community. More than ever before social media proves that humans first and foremost are socially engaged species. However, in today’s society the world of retail seems to be playing the primary role instead, acting as a driving force for socially engaged community life. Paid advert boards online expose only fragments of the scale of retail altogether, never mind the power of it over our lived experiences.
Dastoor’s piece celebrates the notion of anyone and everyone being able to stay actively involved. Community-created art may not change the world but it produces an artwork that triggers individual responses.

3.1 The original drawings. Made by public over a course of 5 days in 4 different locations during the London Festival of Architecture in 2017. From these drawings public developed the semi-typographic shapes later composed into one large Letters & Markers drape.

4. Our World Our Making. Old map, print, hand embroidery, w500 x h350mm.
Pathak’s work here discloses the ‘emotional world’ of spaces through their connection to our own selves. Her work in progress piece is that of an old British colonial map, it subtly examines how allocated boundaries have been shifting in time. By using a bare minimum tool stitch which recreates
an image she generates a sense of belonging; she also draws attention to ‘our world, our making’ as if shredding our stereotypical perception.

5. Grid. Hand embroidery on wool, w100 x h100mm.
In the context of this exhibition, which probes the concept of retail world itself, McVetis’s piece strictly reminds us of all aspects related to time and particularly to speed. For this show his work exposes intricately hand-made individual stitches as if marking the time it takes to make the piece as opposed to the current speedy wholesale retail.

6. Labour Makes Art. Embroidery, paint, goldwork, vintage thread, assorted textiles, w90 x h140mm.
Shih brings out the lighter and brighter (happy!) side in this exhibition. Her suggested object which appears to be a badge is a thought provoking summary, a celebration of how divinely happy retail makes us by entertaining us with roads and cities of shopping centres. One could say Shih caught the ‘spirit’ of retail in this somewhat logotype like, somewhat brand like in its own way badge. As an object Shih artwork is large (L) for a badge but extra small (or size zero?) for an object in this gallery space, making it feel empty and deserted as opposed to the packed shelves in shops.

Performance schedule:
Friday 18 January:
11-2pm Richard McVetis
7-9pm (PV): Richard McVetis, YiMiao Shih, Neringa Dastoor

Saturday 19 January:
11-2pm Richard McVetis
3-5pm YiMiao Shih

Sunday 20 January:
11-12noon Archana Pathak
4-5pm Neringa Dastoor

About the artists

Neringa Dastoor (b. 1978, Lithuania)
Dastoor’s crossdiciplinary practice lately focuses on drawing using her own made oak gall ink which naturally deteriorates in time. She composes mark-making on mixed textiles or on objects that derive from those developed textiles. Dastoor praises any handmade working techniques and throws various subject matter onto the table with focus on identity and place.
Her past shows include interactive installation and video works. Neringa Studio was set up as a space for collaborative projects after her MA at the Royal College of Art in 2013.

Richard McVetis (b. 1983, South Africa)
McVetis uses a range of media including drawing, installation and textiles to explore our perception of space and time. His minimalist work is an endless exploration, not just of form but of the reclamation and potential of process and repetition within stitch. His process is labour-intensive and centres on the use of hand embroidery that reflects a preoccupation with the repetitive nature of process. McVetis graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2008. He lives and works in London.

Archana Pathak (b. 1978, India)
Pathak’s practice is of British and Indian heritage. She collects and works with found memory artefacts such as old photographs, postcards, letters, diaries and maps. Through these she is exploring the interplay between memory, place and identity. Pathak graduated from Chelsea College of Art with her MA in Textiles in 2014. She also did her Masters in Textiles from National Institute of Design in India in 2003. She lives and works in London.

YiMiao Shih (b. 1985, Taiwan)
Shih satirises art and current affairs through drawing and embroidery. Her latest embroidery work was featured in 250th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. She is currently the Illustrator in Residence at the House of Illustration, King’s Cross. Shih graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2015.

Photography Orestis Lambrou