Monday, 10 April 2017

The Weaver's Apprentice

Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh until July 1st 2017
Four stars

The title of Dovecot's new retrospective of its own history may suggest something tinged with arcane magic, but the loom set up on one side of the room points to weaving as a living and painstakingly intricate art. Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the untimely passing of Dovecot's founding master weavers, John 'Jack' Glassbrook and Gordon Berry, both killed during World War One, the show unwinds across the centre's past by way of a series of archival works that led to its current status. Notebooks, photographs and letters reveal a moving dedication to the weavers' craft.

At the show's centre is the work of Dovecot's current apprentice weaver, Ben Hymers, whose Untitled (Hipsters Love Triangles) and Penelope are vividly coloured imaginings laced throughout with bronzed classical allusions that reference Homer's Odyssey and Margaret Atwood, spanning the centuries as they go. These may be a far cry from some of the hunt-based works of old defined by the epic scale of Glassbrook and Berry's The Chace, but they nevertheless remain rooted in Dovecot's own rich tapestry in a vivid piece of living history threading its way towards the future with its ever-expanding legacy intact.

The List, March 2017

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