A one-day exhibition at Flowers Gallery, London marks the culmination of a project where textiles have been created in response to the works of Michael Kidner. Kidner was at the forefront of Optical Art in the 1960s, with works using repeated systematic structures and distinctive colour palettes. His interest in mathematics, science and chaos theories has determined an art which can be described as both formal and playful. With works in many international collections and a seminal show at the Serpentine in 1984, Kidner is a distinguished British artist, elected to the Royal Academy in 2004.
The entire back catalogue of Kidner’s individual artistic evolution has provided the inspiration for new textile works. Initiated by Michael Kidner Art Ltd., textile students and staff from the celebrated Manchester School of Art chose specific artworks to make their own in textile. His works have been reinterpreted into new surfaces, using knit, weave, textile print and embroidery. Kidner’s ‘Waves’ have become cloths and scarves of twisting weaves, where the linear and diagrammatic have become physical, three-dimensional thread structures, and grids of colour have inspired optical grounds of cloth, stitch patterning and knitted dresses.
Seven students have been selected to develop work for this launch from a field of fifty students who responded to the project. Painting Into Textile acts as a showcase for Manchester School of Art, which has a rich history of textile practice founded on Arts and Craft design principles of Walter Crane, and a contemporary breadth of inventive practice. The work demonstrates how a source can be re-conceptualised with textiles as a flexible and expressive material way of thinking. With staff Professor Alice Kettle and programme leader of Textiles in Practice, Lesley Mitchison developing new work alongside the students, this exhibition shows the rich seam of inspiration Kidner’s work has provided. Flowers Gallery arranged a display of Kidner’s original works and a study session followed to view the library of biographical material at the Tate Archive.
PAINTING INTO TEXTILE highlights the relevance and importance of a key British painter and allows contemporary reinvention in a different medium.