Note: the following is part of Glasstire’s series of short videos, Five-Minute Tours, for which commercial galleries, museums, nonprofits and artist-run spaces across the state of Texas send us video walk-throughs of their current exhibitions. This will continue while the coronavirus situation hinders public access to exhibitions. Let’s get your show in front of an audience.
Barbara Attwell’s solo exhibition REWYLDING at Elisabet Ney Museum, Austin. Dates: Feb 27 – April 26, 2020.
“The works in REWYLDING are comprised of felted wool. Large clothing-like wall hangings refer to an ancient Celtic tradition of binding oneself in protective cloth to meet the wild forces of Nature. Some resemble the animal one desires to draw power from; others use primitive symbols to tap into the ancestral heritage that we are all heirs to. Smaller felted sculptures tell wildlife stories. The outdoor works embrace Attwell’s interest in sculptures as serve as habitat for bats and birds.
“Felting is little known here in Texas, but in Europe and the Middle East, it is a 3000-year-old art. Having studied in Ireland with some of their best felters, the process Attwell uses in her studio is the same as felters from that time. Wool is beautiful – colorful, tactile, and extraordinarily strong–and the work is richly laborious. Attwell sources wool from Navajo Tribal Lands and the Faroe Islands, sometimes knowing the shepherdesses who tended the sheep and sheared them to produce the ever-replenishing fiber.
“Underlying Attwell’s work is the search for ways that all things wild — clouds, mountains, otters, ourselves — are connected in a delicious and fierce beauty. She wants to reawaken the singularity we have lost with this powerful undercurrent. In today’s culture, alienation and a peculiar poverty of soul are the result of spending more time controlling nature than knowing it. We need to summon our primordial self – the one who, for instance, introduces themselves to trees, knowing that they respond. Her overall work unfolds in many formats, and can be seen here: www.barbaraattwell.net
“The work suits the Ney with its rich emphasis on allegory, natural connectedness, and portraiture of a kind.”