ARTIST RESEARCH – Rebecca Fairley

Rebecca Fairley

Rebecca is a tutor at the Open college of the Arts and has extensive expertise in her field of textiles. She uses conventional materials such as yarn and fabric, but is drawn to unconventional materials for casting.

By using the textural features of knitted materials or plastics, this is then teamed with concrete to create her work. Preferring a hands on approach she turned to concrete but likened it to baking. She uses found objects, for example a metal pan scourer. One particular sample she has uses concrete and nylon and resembles fabric ruffles. This approach is experimental, with the outcome being determined by the fabric used to reveal new ideas.

She transforms concrete from a masculine material to a feminine object. The experience to the viewer is visual initially but also it lends itself to being touched so is also interactive.

Some artists use concrete as the only material to create art, whilst artists like Rebecca use materials such as wool embedded in concrete to add an extra dimension to the sculptures.

Personally I find it difficult critiquing other artists work, and think this is primarily because I like decorative work, rather than conceptual. However, I have broadened my appreciation of art not previously liked. I think this is in part to the experimentation, especially with plaster, when has endless possibilities.

The work of Rebecca Fairley appears tactile, one example where concrete is molded on nylon creates a ‘fabric ruffle’. This gives the impression of movement. It looks fairly smooth, but there are sharper edges where the mold is ‘unbroken’ on the top. Overall it is grey in colour, but within the folds the areas are darker where the shadow falls. This reminds me of the sample I made using a zip tie bag and gave the impression of a sack. This is where I started to appreciate conceptual art, as I was very pleased and surprised by the results


Image result for concrete sample work rebecca fairley

I particularly like this series of art by Rebecca Fairley, as everywhere you look, there is an area of interest. The textural qualities are apparent, with obvious ‘knitted’ ar eas, where fabric has been overlaid. There are areas where bubble wrap has been used to create bubbled effect concrete. Cuts and slashes are apparent and there are areas of embedded materials, some beneath the surface and some above. Where the wire protrudes there gives a sense of actual movement. The eye is drawn over the different elements and shows differences in depth on each tile, whether flat, raised or domed. The notion of concrete and the coldness of this has been transformed into a warm, vibrant compilation of colour and all work very well together. I find myself smiling at this, not sure why but would imagine it was a pleasure to do and is definitely a pleasure to look at.

This dome influenced my work with embedding beads, with the difference that instead of being embedded totally into the concrete I wanted them to protrude. I liked the coldness and muted colour of the concrete, in contrast to the blue glass. The two colours compliment each other, but the glass gives a warmness to the otherwise cold feel. I felt this was something that I could incorporate into plaster, as I find this not as harsh as I don’t particularly like concrete. The nature of it, creates a lunar like surface and this is interesting, but otherwise it feels unnatural to use, in my opinion. But I do see that it can create some interesting sculptures.


Author: huggywitch

I have been doing textiles for a number of years and recently started my degree. I have always had an interest in theatre costume design and this is where my passion lie.

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