Lucy Brown’s art taps the seam in her own history. As the artist says: 'Mum would make all of her own clothes, all of my clothes, all of her friend’s clothes, all of my dad’s trousers; any leftovers would be clothes for my dolls. Nan, mum’s mum, used to work for soft furnishing companies and department stores, as well of knitting for all the grandchildren...it was just something that happened, there was nothing about it...'
It’s this familial affinity for cloth-making that informs her practice, and becomes the literal material of her art. Brown’s work explores notions of femaleness, of a matriarchal expression borne out through the practical and accidental collision of cloth and body. She builds works, carefully and organically, from mixed media: old clothing, hair, domestic textile items, wringing meaning from them as you would a chamois. She deals with notions of textile history, of craft- labour, of reinvention and reimagining.
'Offerings' brings together new and existing works from 2010 – 2017, to Lisburn’s R-Space Gallery, including woven anti-form sculpture and hair works. Some of these have never been shown before and have remained in their studio 'limbo state'. R- Space Gallery will become a platform for finalising the unfinished works as Lucy will continue to work on site inside the gallery until February 28, 2018.
As the artist says: 'I was very keen on getting people to look at the work before it was cut off the loom. For me it was important to see that transformation between the loom and the gallery space.'
There is a marked difference between the work in progress, pinioned and static, born aloft by a rudimentary wooden skeleton, and the dropped fabric, cut from the frame, undulating wave-like, both contained and spilling, hermetic and still reaching out into a wider world. It is from this transformation that the artist further manipulates her material, placing it in a new environment, letting it interact with the other pieces, forming fresh narratives from strange meetings.
'Offerings' is a complex and mutable work and, in situ at the R-Space Gallery, is a rare chance to experience a committed and exciting artist at the centre of her artistic practice.