Visiting Kate Haywood’s exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery was a real eye opener to process and adornment. There is deliberate visual poetry in motion. My eyes move over the delicately-made symbolic structures noticing that every piece or form Haywood has made is joined together for a reason. There is purpose in her making and final finish. And the finish is sublime. Smooth and pure.
Each decorative circle, hoop, twist, knot and loop symbolically brings her pieces together. Making and material are at one with each other. I wonder if notions of their being church-like in their presence is a possibility as they seem almost precious and untouchable like holy vestibules usually residing in cathedrals or churches.
These purely-made objects also resemble small sculptures. Without knowing their scale beforehand you would believe they were a lot larger than what they actually are in reality. Once seeing them in person I realise they seemingly bridge the gap between the decorative and the sculptural. Capturing the light each one casts unusual shadows across the wall, floor or cabinet. Once again there is a feeling that they are untouchable or untouched – like artefacts in a museum. The glass pieces in a centre cabinet express this too in their unusual transparent forms. They resemble grown-up adult versions of children toys, once again delicate and pure in form.
Whilst they aren’t objects from a church, other cultures use objects in their worship, rituals and ceremonies hence why there is a subtle African presence resonating from Haywood’s objects. The gallery walls are painted in a deep red and yellow which services to enhance this connection. I see this is in her use of colourful fabric, precious metal and supple leather – ties, hoops, holes and loops keep appearing throughout her work. This intricate detail is obvious now I am aware of her background as a jewellery designer. Additional small artefacts such as gold metal and silver trinkets are located within some of the pieces. Each piece suggests a deeper level than just the materials in front of you. Their texture, composition and number of individual pieces to form the whole are all questions I ask myself when I look at Haywood’s work.
On until 7th October 2018
Manchester Art Gallery