Taking pixels and knots as our starting points, in lockdown we break it down into the simplest smallest elements and build it up again. We have time to work out what’s important. We find that certain elements recur and by grace of their repetition they form gorgeous patterns. This show brings together diverse artists who work with patterns in various ways. They fabricate their works in silence, in solitude, in home studios and share it with the whole world online. It’s a new way of working for our strange and interesting times and this virtual version of Carpet Pages reflects that process; many of the artists will meet each other online here for the very first time.
A pixel is the smallest unit on a screen. It is a sample and contains among other things the basic information needed to build up an image. The more pixels, the higher resolution the image.
Similarly, a woven carpet can be broken down to its smallest element, a single knot. The more knots, the more complex the rug.
Thence we sprout:
Pixels into digital images and videos.
Knots into weaves into carpet patterns.
Pixels proliferate into the spawn swarm of images we are confronted with every time we meet a screen.
Knots are communication, save lives and end lives, record events and mark the passing of time.
There is more to the connections between carpets and computers. Indeed, weaving itself contributed to the rise of the early computers - Peruvian weavers, Jacquard looms, Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage and zeros and ones.
We go beyond the binary to investigate the space in between the warp and the weft: the Buddhist spherical button knot enclosing an empty space invites us to consider the endless, cyclical nature of existence; eternal tazhib* illumination patterns dwell in a place outside of time and the very act of drawing geometry calls for musing on the mystical. Geometric and illumination constructions - the backbones of traditional rug making - form the basis of drawings, paintings, textiles, sculptures. Pixels are separated and recombined like alchemical processes by digital magicians. Contemporary artists contemplate the place of art and painting itself in the mass imagery we are flooded with daily in the Anthropocene, finding meaning in patterns amid the noise. Patterns are formed from stories, landscapes, water sources, weaving, kaftans and kimonos, clocks, the rhythm of everyday life.
We will of course return to physical Carpet Pages shows when it is safe to do so; for now I am grateful that we can reach a global audience through this online offering.
This show is dedicated to all the artists in lockdown around the world.
Welcome to Carpet Pages III: Pixels, a digital show during the Covid-19 pandemic which inspired pixellated thinking and this online offering.
In a harsh climate when artists are particularly struggling to survive, these rich and lush works show how fertile and alive the art biome is. In all corners of the earth, locked down in solitude and exiled from humdrum daily life, artists continue to create against the backdrop of an arid Covid landscape.
In a corner of the desert of my mind lay a simple white house, its walls lined with beautiful and inspiring art, inviting repeat walks around the unique design of the building, itself laid out like an architectural carpet page.
Isolation may lead to inspiration; desolation, to production; emptiness, an oasis.
The Carpet Pages cycle is a series of shows presented by artist and curator Vaishali Prazmari. The dazzling title pages of both Islamic and Medieval European manuscript books were called Carpet Pages in reference to their intricate rug-like patterns. These exquisitely detailed and highly ornamented and illuminated surfaces were covered in arabesques and geometric patterns and often included the use of gold and jewel-like, precious pigments. As book pages are sequential, so future shows will build on this third chapter. The curator's love of carpets also reflects the wider goal of this show sequence which is to bring together diverse artists with similar interests into a whole; to unite disparate elements into a unified pattern, which is one of the goals of rug-making itself. Carpets are visual feasts for the eye and this third iteration in the Carpet Pages cycle promises the same. The talented artists in this exhibition are all adepts in their chosen medium and their exciting work ranges from paintings to textiles, geometry to figuration, large-scale pieces to tiny miniatures and traditional to contemporary art.