Susie Reade – Lines of Enquiry

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My mother wrote a diary when she worked in Moscow in 1944 – 45. The gaps in her writing form the basis of my work for the Maclaurin Gallery in 2017. I aimed to understand why did such an approachable young woman find it impossible to make friends at a time when the Russians were allies with Britain.

Russian brutalist domestic architecture hints at the answer. Sharp edges, tall magnificence, references to classical proportions, standardised apartments, and identical furniture were all planned to house Russian communities who lived according to Stalin’s ideals. Any expressions of individuality or meeting foreign friends had to remain secret for fear of arrest and death in the icy gulags. Understanding this has filled some gaps.

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We are fortunate to have escaped such cruel political regimes. The Scottish version of Brutalist architecture is softer. The focus of my art making is now Scotland. This is where the art work has become collaborative; Marion Baron and I worked together drawing brutalist buildings in Edinburgh, wondering about the current and previous inhabitants, admiring the concrete shapes and textured surfaces which I had previously thought so ugly. We studied the ‘banana flats’ of the film Trainspotting 2 and British Homes Stores in Edinburgh. The simple line, shiny surface and pattern on buildings of the mid twentieth century point to space age optimism.

We enjoy our different styles of drawing, the elegant and the messy and assembling them with each other. We hope our collaboration will continue beyond the end of this exhibition though where it will go we do not know.

Susie Reade’s work will be on show in our forthcoming exhibition at The Maclaurin Gallery in Ayr, open daily from 2 July to 6 August.

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Praise for Reworked

If you haven’t managed to get to Reworked yet, there is still time this weekend. The exhibition is open 11am – 6pm daily until Sunday 27th November.

According to our visitors’ book, it is well worth a visit!

‘Lovely varied show with lots of delightful artwork’

‘Fantastic – loved the collaboration and synergy’

‘It’s all so amazing!’

‘Wonderful – liberating!’

‘Best show I’ve seen in a while’

‘Food for thought, and soul’

‘Superb, imaginative works’

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Reworked with Barbara Rowell

An integral aspect of an artist’s working practice is to periodically revisit, recycle and refine their initial ideas. REWORKED invites Mesh artists and friends to review their stock of research pieces and trial studies, further work them, and present them in reworked form. 

To encourage greater collaboration and opportunities for rethinking ideas, the group also have been tasked with reworking a research piece of another artist.  This brief aims to give artists greater understanding of their own personal development process and overcome any fear of departure from the initial ideas.

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How did you approach the reworked brief?

Wall markings and graffiti are a recurring context for my work. Experimentation with exposed warps and the structure of the weave is a major design interest for me which I have reworked in different ways.

Inspiration for ‘Reparation’ comes from ancient textile fragments from Peru, where weaving was a medium of artistic expression and the carrier of important social, political and religious information. Designs could be woven into the fabric or embroidered or painted on to a base fabric. Over time, some of the wefts disintegrated leaving interesting gaps and exposed painted warps.

Describe your working environment

I have a studio in East Lothian where I do printmaking and painting. I do all my weaving work at home to keep the yarns away from the messy paints.

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What music do you listen to when working?

Current favourites are Phamie Gow and Benjamin Clementine

What book is on your bedside table?

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot. The book is a beautiful memoir about a girl recovering from addiction on Orkney, returning to the place of her upbringing. It is an inspiring story about living on the edge, both metaphorically and literally, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind and the moon to restore life and renew hope.

Find out more about Barbara Rowell through our member profiles and visit the Reworked exhibition to view her work, at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Open daily from 11am – 6pm until 27th November 2016.