UH Arts + Culture and St Albans Museum + Gallery were delighted to present the first major survey exhibition ‘Fibre and Form’ of sculptural textile work by acclaimed artist Anna Ray.
Working from a studio in Hertfordshire, Anna Ray has an impressive international commissioning and exhibition record with her stitched artwork. ‘Fibre and Form’ focused on large-scale sculptural pieces created over the past 20 years. It featured two newly commissioned sculptures entitled Mesh and Rosette, which had been fabricated during the pandemic, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The exhibition pivots on these ambitious new assemblages and Ray’s seminal wall piece Margate Knot, originally produced for the exhibition ‘Entangled: Threads & Making’, Turner Contemporary (2017).
Ray offers an artistic practice that is highly accessible and appealing to the public, while also pioneering within the field of art textiles and soft sculpture. Her assemblages are full of joy and life; their palette bright and varied; their form and surface rich and highly tactile. In their fabrication, the artist has developed specialist techniques of stitching, wrapping and stuffing fabrics, which repeat and build in relation to each other – enabling new possibilities. Ray’s practice is a perpetual experimentation, she will have half a dozen artworks in development at any one time. She sees herself and the actions of her body as part of the work; building and dismantling component parts becomes a form of performance.