There is a lot going on in Sally Greaves-Lord’s painted silk textiles. The edges of the cloth are as important as the centre. Peripheral vision is something that interests her. She sees the striped or chequered pattern fragments that creep into the margins as the beginnings of other designs which would not fit into that particular work. ‘I imagine each piece to be part of a much larger piece,’ she explains. ‘It’s all going on simultaneously, but I haven’t yet given it form.’
She chooses the titles of her works extremely carefully, although the naming process – or christening as she describes it – does not take place until after she has ‘given birth’. The titles are metaphorical, suggesting a mood or evoking an impulse, rather than defining a physical object or place. Living amongst the raw, rugged beauty of North Yorkshire, landscape is inevitably a primary source of inspiration. However, Sally Greaves-Lord’s work refers to many different types of landscape, including the domestic landscape (particularly the spatial qualities of the interiors in her recently acquired Victorian house in Scarborough), not to mention the landscape of the mind. Allowing the subconscious to range freely is crucial for Greaves-Lord as an imaginative starting point. It is only later that she seeks a rational explanation for the marks she has made. ‘I start with a particular feeling or atmosphere or quality of air or mood or yearning. I never set out to do a piece on a particular theme,’ she explains.
Colour, or more particularly colour contrasts, carry a special resonance in Greaves-Lord’s textiles as flagships of mood. Groups of works created in close succession often share similar tonal qualities, as in the Embrace Hope collection for Bankfield Museum, Halifax, from early last year. As well as pieces drawn from this series, the exhibition contains five brightly coloured new works, including Clamour and Din. Characterised by Greaves-Lord as ‘very noisy’, these pieces have been deliberately quietened down with ‘veils of muted murky neutrals and soft mossy overlays’, highlighting the significance of dialogue between colours as well as forms.
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