As followers of my writing will know, I am fascinated by the ambivalent status of textiles as an art medium. Often situated on the margins, hovering between art and craft traditions, works using textiles are often dismissed as ‘not serious’.
This recent exhibition at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester was yet another challenge to that assertion. It showcased artists who, since the 1960s, have used textiles as a powerful tool for expressing ideas about social, political and artistic concerns. Looking not just at issues of identity, the exhibition also asked visitors to consider the value of the handmade in a digital age.
The show featured works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Ghada Amer, Kimsooja and others. The slide show below gives a feel for this intelligent and at times challenging show.