Stolen beauty that gives back


A woven meditation: Tamlin Blake’s Carpeted, a newspaper tapestry. Photograph courtesy Everard Read Gallery.

MEDITATIVE ENERGIES CAN be found in the most unexpected of places and often one needs just to still one’s inner noises and there it is, before you. There’s just one day left of Tamlin Blake’s extraordinary current solo exhibition, but it’s certainly worth changing your plans for.

A heady mix of mosaic and tapestry, this body of 19 works plays with space and illusion, motion and the glory of colour and texture that sits unexpectedly with texture, hard and soft. Blake draws with an impetuous line of thread made of newspaper, that sometimes resonates with subject matter you can recognise and sometimes leaps off into its own direction, driven by an inner sense of poetry.

Either way, the works are quite lovely, revealing a unique facility with line that is woven thread made of paper, and a sense of movement that evokes the work of early futurists from pre-First World War Italy. The press release tells you that the exhibition is about a love for mathematics and trains, but as you immerse yourself in it, you will realise that nothing’s literal here, and it is an overall sense of harmony that reaches into its core. You see the maths, you understand the trains, but you’re wafted away on veins of deep philosophies that infiltrate the material.

It is, however the piece de resistance in one of the gallery spaces that will give you huge pause and that brings all the other wisdoms and gestures together in a rich concatenation of what it takes to be alive and what this exhibition is all about.

There is an old tradition which bleeds into the annals of many cultures. It’s about repairing broken things and creating new patterns where old patterns have been lost. It’s about filling in porcelain cracks with gold, and threading unfinished stories together into new wholes. Blake’s floor work entitled Threaded Floor, which takes up the whole floor of a space in the gallery, does this with an ineffable quietude. The hardness of the mosaic tiles and chips contradicts the sweet values from which the tradition comes, but it’s a work that she made in collaboration with Spier Arts Academy that immediately gives you peace, just by dint of your being there, near it.

The two rooms in the gallery between which Blake’s Stealing Beauty spills articulates a meditative energy which will leave you feeling cleansed. Make time today or tomorrow. Because life is short and you deserve it.



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