Linguistic Marks: Els van Baarle & Jette Clover
Text becomes art in Linguistic Marks – a new joint exhibition.
Two internationally renowned artists, Els van Baarle and Jette Clover, unite for their first Australian exhibition at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in November. Their Linguistic Marks exhibition combines the diverse styles of the two highly-skilled artists around the common theme they share – a love of text and writing.
Textile artist/teacher from the Netherlands, van Baarle, teaches surface design classes all over the world. Her work, widely published and collected, has won many awards and prizes. Her large scale art-cloth pieces are inspired by ancient history and traces of the past.
“I love the slow process of using wax and dye many times, to recreate the wear and tear of time,” she said. “The result is a wonderful cloth with a wealth of colour and depth.”
Van Baarle’s work brings together tradition and innovation. Text plays an important part.
Clover was born in Copenhagen but lived and worked in the US and the Netherlands before settling in Antwerp, Belgium. Educated in journalism and art history, her career includes working on a daily newspaper in Copenhagen and running an art gallery in Los Angeles. She was curator at the Dutch Textile Museum for over 10 years, where she organised the first European Art Quilt exhibition in 1997. Working as a studio artist since 1998, Clover has exhibited widely in USA, Europe and Asia.
“I was a journalist before I became an artist, which is why almost all my art work contains pieces of text,” Clover said. “I am inspired by mark–making both in the form of handwriting and the layered and fragmented words and letters in the urban landscape – faded signs, tattered posters, flashy advertisements and bold graffiti.”
Both artists share a love of old books and documents. They are curious about what survives or endures the passage of time. Text as image, text as a vehicle for meaning and the tactile nature of embroidered signs and symbols are all central elements of their work.
Van Baarle’s pieces explode with vibrant colour, while Clover keeps a more subdued palette of white, grey and black. Their pieces are often stitched by hand, before or after painting and printing, to create visual marks of time and a textural quality.