Client: Stanhope PLC
Location: London, United Kingdom
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $60,000
Dickson Russell Art Consultants
Dickson Russell Art Consultants
Woven textile Art Limited
'Chromaticity' is a series of eight hand dyed and woven textile artworks stretched over frames as wall based canvases. All panels in the series are 2.5m high – 8.2ft but vary in width from 1 – 2.6ft and depth from 1- 8 inches which reveals a contrasting band of colour on their edges. Commissioned by Stanhope PLC, a London based property developer in collaboration with the Art Consultants Dickson Russell. The installation serves as a welcoming focus point across two walls in the reception area of their head office bringing dynamic colour to their otherwise white space.
The textile artist Ptolemy Mann is well established in her native UK and is particularly well known for her use of innovative colour. She established her studio in 1997 and has perfected a hand dyeing and weaving technique called Ikat where the fine threads are dyed with colour before the hand weaving process begins. The art consultants Dickson Russell introduced Mann to their client and guided initial discussions feeling sure that textile were the right thing for the space. Inspired by Abstract Expressionism and Bauhaus Colour theory these works bridge the gap between fine and applied art, closer to painting than a traditional tapestry they have an extraordinary and saturated matte surface. This project required a powerful injection of colour but also needed a textile surface to absorb sound within the large open space. Designed in specific response to the architecture of the room these works highlight their depth and sculptural qualities when viewed from different angles. The client also wanted to reflect their company ethos and Mann; through a bespoke colour palette developed in response to Stanhope's colourful portfolio of buildings was able to reflect this through the sketching process at the outset of the project.
The word 'Chromaticity' means ‘an objective specification of the quality of a colour and consists of two independent parameters, often specified as hue and saturation.’ Like the colours found at the nearby Stanhope development Central Saint Giles by Renzo Piano, the artworks reveal extreme colour saturation unique to hand dyeing and weaving and tell an abstract, intuitive, visual story.
But this is also a play on words… A colourful city ('chromatic - city') is a glorious city and London has become a place for colourful buildings to grow in unexpected and unexplored places. The warp and weft of the cloth becomes a macro city reflecting the vertical and horizontal lines of built urban architecture. Mann has spent 20 years exploring this concept alongside the links between weaving and architecture. The following definition of the word architecture has been a continuous theme in her work.
‘Architecture: from the Latin, teks – to weave (as a net); also to fabricate, a root shared with text, textile, context, subtle and technology. More especially to build a dwelling with tools…’
The term 'Chromatic Minimalism' was applied to Mann's work by the Journalist Ian Wilson in 2003 and describes well her approach to creating this unique work. Unlike the more familiar 'Fibre Art' movement these textile works are about surface and colour rather than fibre. Exquisitely executed and woven in very fine mercerised cotton they transcend what is normally expected by the term 'handwoven'.