Monday, February 21, 2011

9 February 2011 - Rachel Gornall, "The World in Colour"

The moment Rachel Gornall started to speak, the whole room was engaged. Her manner and presentation are as bright and colourful as her art. Her passion and enthusiasm for her work, her subject matter and the places that have inspired her shine through.

Rachel Gornall - Into the Deep, 2009, framed textile, dyed cotton, stitch, 65cm (h) x 85cm (w) photo: colin harvey

Most speakers tell you a little about their education and/or qualification. Rachel briefly mentioned her BA(Hons) Design: Surface pattern degree course at Staffordshire University only as a stepping stone to telling us about a study trip to Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral. Listening to her description of being surrounded by light and colour, makes you wish you were there. And so it was with every place that Rachel spoke of from a grey concrete tower block reflecting a fiery sunset, to Cornwall in dense sea mist, to Latin America, Columbia or some other exotic location. It is obvious that Rachel drinks in and savours every detail of the places she visits. During a year-long world trip these details were beautifully captured in a tiny leather bound sketch book. The pages are crammed with sketches and notes recording pattern, form and colour. After her trip these visual reminders and thousands of photographs were expanded into story boards, exploring common themes that would be developed into series of work.

Orange Revealed, 2009, textile panel, dyed cotton, stitch, 104cm (h) x 104cm (w) photo: colin harvey

Rachel works with hand-dyed fabrics, bonding layers together to intensify the colours. Much of her work is multilayered with areas cut away and sections suspended with stitch so that they move, creating shadows and shifting colour values. Rachel says of her work “These instinctive colour statements evoke perceptions of time, feeling and place. Works often reference a specific location or experience and my own personal relationship with the encounter – a moment captured.”

Dende Caju, 2007, wall panels, dyed cotton, stitch, each 28cm (h) x 28cm (w) photo: artist

Rachel’s talk certainly evoked a perception of time, feeling and place. The only disappointment of the evening was that Rachel had to rush away to catch a train home. I think everyone would have liked more time to look through the samples and especially the sketch book that Rachel had brought with her.

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