Image of artwork titled "Flower-Necklace-Cargo-Net" by Christian Newby
Image of artwork titled "Flower-Necklace-Cargo-Net" by Christian Newby
Image of artwork titled "Flower-Necklace-Cargo-Net" by Christian Newby

Christian Newby, Flower-Necklace-Cargo-Net, 2021
tufted wool, nylon, Scottish lambswool, acrylic yarns, poly bailing twine, polypropylene carpet backing
180 × 300 × 1 inches

Newby harnesses the power of a hand-held industrial carpet-tufting gun to skilfully merge a variety of fibres and colours across a complex web.

Using a technique he calls ‘drawing with carpet’, Newby redirects the mass manufacturing function of the carpet-tufting gun and instead explores its capacities as an intimate mark-making tool, the equivalent to the pencil, spray can, paintbrush or tattoo needle. Through his method and medium, the work carries an awareness of the anonymity of globalized commercial production and the labour involved, in direct contrast with the skilful mastery equated with the hand and artisanal handicraft. As a result, Newby proposes the industrial textile process as a structural framework for how we encounter and question broader cultural and economic models.

Typical rug and textile design motifs found in mass produced carpets such as flowers, birds and shells are deliberately subverted by Newby into abstract organic forms, pictorially contained or trapped by a large net that envelopes the whole tapestry. The vast surface is covered with details offering an intricacy of ideas and wonder pressed against the physicality of working at this scale. The large net alluding to amongst other things, our shared experience of enclosure during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Being able to see behind and around the work, we find the front-side’s points of origin, a hectic root system of taut lines made discreetly visible. Newby reminds us of his aims to break down hierarchical thinking around production and manufacturing. He doesn’t shy away from providing us with an insight into every aspect of his making process, explicitly revealing many elements of production that would conventionally be concealed or tidied away before entering the market. Newby gives us raw, irregular edges; rogue fibres, threads knotted, brought together in a precarious scale.



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