Hand stitching is a slow rhythmic craft that describes both the functional and symbolic dimensions of joining and being attached, and as such it has become a daily social encounter for Gavin Fry.
In this exhibition Fry presents stitched works and the kernels of ideas including his sketchbooks and found objects. In these, the original ideas, are the sandwiched disparate elements and gleaned things that later get fixed together. Only then do the stories they hold get written; and because they are built ragbag, they can be neither purely realist nor linear.
The slow rhythms of hand-stitching allow the artist to carve out space for himself and make time for reflection. The embroidery is not rogue but is included throughout the making stages as a dialogic collage element to further add to both the narrative and the making process using his idiosyncratic imagery.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of having an art practice, is to use it as a trampoline to bounce around questions that might not otherwise get asked (of oneself and of others). By capturing initial information in journals and sketchbooks Fry can then marry ideas into questions, and compositions from accidental discoveries and quiet collisions. It is these that then grow into assemblages/bricolages, the complete process from find to end becoming a device to activate further inquiries.
The themes explored in these works are identity, labelling, and the narrative associations of stitch. The artist’s material choices are deliberate: they enable him to play himself because his identity is partially constructed through making with stitch and thread, bits and bobs, and in turn, this has become a device to activate further inquiries.