Drapes

Having seen the exhibition of the work of Anni Albers , where the ‘rooms’ were separated by fine hessian screens, and then having read the review of landscape photographer Noémie Goudal in Issue 95 of Source Magazine, where the photographer exhibited her images at right angles to the walls instead of flat against them, I thought I would try something similar.

I proposed putting loose drapes down the length of the ‘Cells’ corridor right angles to the long wall which would have the diptychs at regular intervals. At the time, I was thinking of having wide sheets, much like those in Edmund Clark’s exhibition ‘In Place of Hate’, with the blobs I had made with the dyes I had made every season with the botanicals from outside HM Prison Dartmoor.

I decided against this initial idea because I felt that the heavy drapes would annoy viewers in the already narrow space rather than make them link the inside to the outside.

The long narrow space outside the cells’ doors where the drapes were to hang tied to the metal tubing carrying the electric wires feeding the fluorescent tube lights.

Then came the comment about the blobs looking like faeces which some prisoners spread over their walls and I decided to change the representation of the seasonal dyes. It was at this point that I spoke to one of the OCA SW painting students Krystyna Dembny who reminded me of the drapes she had had printed on various types of cloth and that the company Contrado which offered a substantial discount to students. At this point I decided to have the dyes printed on a fine netting, like at the Anni Albers show. As it turned out, the company did not have the fine netting but only a lace. What also transpired was that they only had 140cm x 40cm lengths – this would obviate the problem of interference with the viewers in bot the dimensions and the obstruction I had anticipated.

A week before the exhibition, I took the risk and had the 4 seasonal dye, Maple leaf prints done on 4 lace drapes. I was very excited with the outcomes.

Visitors interacted with the lace drapes which did not interfere with their passage through the space..

Two visitors in particular wrote about the drapes:

Patricia H.: “Outside the cell, a case contained pigments that Anna had made from natural resources and used to print leaves on pieces of netting hanging in the room. I found these hangings disturbing as they interfered with my progress and interaction with other people, just as prison would have done for Ian. “

and Tess wrote:

“I like the element of femininity within the whole exhibition adding a sense of sensitivity – Tess”

Hanging opposite the image of the Dandelion transcending the prison wall,

Dandelion by Anna Goodchild 2019

the lace of the drape echoes the granite prison wall and recalls the line in the poem One Year :

“that grey gossamer granite

cannot block the writing “

The image on each drape is a dye representation of each season. Whereas before the dyes had been amorphous splodges,

One Year, Four Seasons dye mixes. Anna Goodchild 2019

on the drapes they are the shape of a Field Maple leaf, the stencil having been taken from an image of the leaf taken from one of the Field Maple trees which stand sentinel like outside the entrance to Dartmoor prison:

Field Maple trees identified. Anna Goodchild 2019

One Year, Four Seasons Field Maple leaf design. Anna Goodchild 2019