Fabric Of Myth, Ancient And Modern, At Compton Verney

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 23 June 2008
a photograph of a woven piece of fabric with a spider motif in the centre with a face in it

Louise Bourgeois, Spider Woman (2004). Picture courtesy of Harlan and Weaver, New York

Exhibition notice - The Fabric Of Myth at Compton Verney in Warwickshire until September 7 2008.

Compton Verney’s summer exhibition follows a continuous thread of textiles as a medium for art and myth and encourages the visitor to weave a journey through the warp and weft of fabric in history and individual lives.

The Fabric of Myth brings together pieces from British and international collections as well as specially commissioned work. Exhibits are defined by their exploration of the processes of textile production as well as the metaphorical and fabulous dimensions associated with a craft and art linked to stories and superstition.

Thematic organisation traces weaving as mythic, historic and fabulous story through classical Greek figures such as the Three Fates, Arachne, Ariadne, Circe and Penelope.

William Holman Hunt's painting of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott, locked in her tower weaving, brings words and images together. The embroideries of Mary Queen of Scots from her captivity extend poignant reality to myth and fable.

Fabric as a medium to communicate personal and cultural myths forms the other dimension of this exhibition. Artists including Delaine Le Bas, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, William Holman Hunt, Alice Kettle, Henry Moore, and Annie Whiles demonstrate the continuing force and power of this ancient medium into 21st Century processes and preocupations.

a tapestry of three woman side by side

(Above) Henry Moore, The Three Fates, 1983–84, Tapestry woven by Pat Taylor and Fiona Abercrombie. The Henry Moore Foundation, acquired 1984

Highlights in this part of the exhibition include the exploration of the materiality of existence itself through fabric and stitching in the work of Bispo Do Rosário. The spinning of fibres into a strong whole in Louise Bourgeois’ Spindle brings a sense of her personal restoration.

Meanwhile, Henry Moore’s Three Fates comes full circle as the women are once more interpreted in their spinning and weaving of life and death through the recreation of Henry Moore’s drawing by Pat Taylor and Fiona Abercromby.

Compton Verney, as ever, has devised a strong activity programme to help visitors interpret what is on offer as well as allowing us to follow personal threads we unpick from the exhibition. These activities include guided exhibition tours, writing workshops and the chance to create textile art of your own.

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