Pittcroft Whip Ha’, pigment and dye on folded and stitched cloth, 130 x 70cm, is Matthew Harris’ completed cloth artwork for Field Notes. The name makes reference to fields listed on the ‘Leeke Survey’, a historic record of the carving and cutting up of land where fields have become fragments, floating free of any surrounding landscape. One of the starting points for Field Notes project was a visit to the Shropshire Archive which has an inspirational collection of ancient maps.
The act or folding serves several functions in the work that I make.
In the paper work or drawings its purpose is primarily to act as an agent of change; a means by which an initial image can be altered, adjusted and responded to. It allows for un-wanted imagery to be buried, for shapes to be altered and for lines to be broken and disrupted in their journey across a surface of the paper. By folding a drawn or painted image I am able to interact with it as an object and examine it from all sides in the hope of discovering something new and unexpected about the information it contains.
In the work with cloth, folding gives the fabric a strength and weight. However, more importantly it is the means by which visual information becomes embedded in the fabric. Folding brings about a compression and intensification of the visual material, burying it deep in the body of the cloth, creating strata of trapped colour, mark and line; strata that then need to be dug through and excavated in order for their contents to be revealed. This process of digging and sifting allows me to move the visual material back and forth; to turn it over and examine it in close proximity, to expose what is hidden and to cover over what is no longer needed until each piece finds its place and an image emerges.