Imogen Alexander BA (Hons) Fine Art

Imogen Alexander

“At some point things are going to collapse, and they’re going to become something else – I want to follow that trail” – Phyllida Barlow

With the inability to access new materials during lockdown, I found myself reflecting on and adapting my practice, unearthing a fascination with distressed fabrics. Intrigued by their faults and flaws, I set out to interrogate these further; questioning the events that led to their neglected appearance and pondering the stories these marks may hold.

Inspired by Wabi Sabi, the Japanese notion of embracing the beauty in imperfections, I set out to exacerbate, perpetuate and immortalise these unique snags and stains, whilst also embracing the new marks accumulated through the making process. By embellishing the visual traces of each material’s journey in this way, I intend to celebrate the quirks most would opt to disguise, and accentuate the personality of each fabric, which is engrained within these blemishes.

Whilst the works make reference to abstraction, they challenge its formality and seek to break out of the frame; opting to reside in the uncertain space between image and object, flat and full, painting and sculpture. The resulting stuffed, draped and threaded forms strike a fragile equilibrium between the notions of dilapidation and rejuvenation – and in so doing, evoke an obscured sense of familiarity for the viewer. By reacting and responding to the peculiarities of each material, I now endeavour to consciously emulate this strange sense, and invite the viewer to engage with and speculate for themselves on the journey each fabric has undergone to arrive in its current state.