27 April – 30 June 2013
The National Centre for Craft & Design is delighted to present a group exhibition that will explore how mathematical concepts underpin craft techniques and artistic development. The exhibition will feature unique and stimulating works of art in an attempt to demystify a subject that intimidates both adults and children. It aims to show how knotting, interlacing, stitching, counting, hooking, measuring and cutting are all produced through mathematical means.
‘Beauty is the First Test’ will draw together existing and new artworks focusing on textiles, sculpture and drawing to invite in-depth consideration of contemporary craft practice in this wider context. Beauty and playfulness will be evident in the exhibits to illustrate what delights craftspeople and maths geeks alike. The artists are a mix of emerging and established, the latter of national and international importance and include Michael Brennand-Wood;
Alongside the artworks will be case studies of five makers; Gail Baxter, David Gates, Stella Harding, Carol Quarani and Margo Selby examining how mathematical theory supports the development of their work. Sketches, maquettes and other materials will be displayed on furniture specially commissioned from David Gates.
The title of the exhibition is drawn from an extended essay published in 1940 by accomplished mathematician G H Hardy, who declared: “The mathematician’
Mathematics is often the subject pupils most dread and adults express discomfort with, despite extensive 21st century use of technology based on mathematical principles.
As curator Liz Cooper says: “Perhaps the friendliness of the technology allows a distance from a subject that frightens and overwhelms people? As a former school maths champ and a celebrator and explorer of contemporary craft forms, particularly textiles, I am seeking to change that through this exhibition”.
Beauty is the First Test is curated by Liz Cooper and has been supported by Arts Council England and developed in partnership with Crafts Council, Wandsworth Arts, Wandsworth Children’s Services and The National Centre for Craft & Design, Sleaford, Lincolnshire.