The Broadway Gallery presents Canvas To Carpet (8 Feb – 5 May 2019), the first major solo exhibition of the British artist Allistair Covell. The exhibition will present a series of Covell’s synaesthetic inspired abstract hand- knotted carpets as the centrepiece to a display that surveys the artist’s creative practice over the last five years.
The carpets, or ‘woven paintings’ as Covell refers to them, have been handcrafted in Afghanistan by Turquoise Mountain and in Nepal by Rug-Maker to the artist’s designs. The exhibition will showcase how the weavers have masterfully interpreted the rhythmic energy and spontaneity of Covell’s paintings as each expressive brush stroke; splash of colour and complex shape has been translated into a woven knot. The preparatory paintings, iPad sketches and ink drawings that Covell supplies to the carpet weavers will also be on display alongside their textile counterparts.
Commenting on the exhibition, curator Laura Dennis said, “The Broadway Gallery is very excited to be able to host Covell’s first major solo exhibition which focuses on his creative journey from canvas to carpet. Visitors will be able to experience the ‘woven paintings’ up close as the carpets are adorning the walls of the gallery in a celebration of them as objets d’art”.
Each carpet in the exhibition, much like Covell’s paintings and drawings, vary in style and composition. Some carpets are more ‘painterly’ in appearance while others have a distinctive bold Pop Art aesthetic, inspired by Covell’s colourful plasticine sculptures and iPad sketches. One carpet perfectly resembles its ink-pen drawing counterpart, owing to the carpet’s high knot count and monotone pattern, a dramatic departure from Covell’s normal kaleidoscopic colour palette.
These carpet characteristics not only reflect Covell’s diverse artistic handwriting, translated into woven form, but also reveal the specific heritage and traditions of carpet production in both Afghanistan and Nepal; highlighting the differences in the wool, the knotting techniques and how the yarns are dyed. Accompanying the exhibition are short films that show the different making processes, granting visitors the opportunity to witness the craftsmanship and various stages involved in production. Laura adds, “it will be really interesting to see Covell’s expressive paintings hang alongside the finished carpets, creating a unique exhibition that will inspire conversation”.