Stewart Kelly is an artist based at Bankley Studios & Gallery in Manchester, United Kingdom.
Stewart gained a BA (Hons) Fashion & Textiles Design from Liverpool John Moores University specialising in textile art and design.
During his studies, Stewart exhibited and sold fabric designs with Indigo Salon at Premiere Vision in Paris. His clients included Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Lauren Vidal, Sahco Hesslien and Ralph Lauren Home Collection.
Following this Stewart received an Arts & Humanities Research Board Postgraduate Award to study for an MA Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University specialising in fine art textiles.
To date, Stewart has participated in numerous exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Europe and USA. His recent exhibitions include Scythia 11: International Biennial of Contemporary Textile Art in Kherson, Ukraine and Fantastic Fibers 2017 in Paducah, USA.
Stewart’s work has featured in several publications including, Inspirational, Inspirational Plus, Inspirations, Textile View and Workbox Magazine. He has also completed online interviews with Textile Artist, Textile Curator and Mr X Stitch.
In addition, Stewart is a member of the European Textile Network, Surface Design Association and TAFA (Textile and Fiber Art List) in the USA.
Experience is never limited and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness and catching every airborne particle in its tissue.
My current practice is inspired by observing and drawing the human form. I use the drawings as a basis to construct layered surfaces which are created using a range of media. In particular, I am interested in exploring the effects of layering drawing and stitching. The accumulation of lines results in abstract images which are open to interpretation from the viewer.
Initially, I make observational drawings in response to the figure. I work intuitively to create expressive drawings which aim to capture the subtleties found in both gesture and movement. I record my responses spontaneously, focusing almost entirely on the subject, unaware of the image evolving on the paper. As the lines accumulate and overlap, the image becomes abstracted. The figures become less recognizable almost camouflaged amongst the multitude of lines. Each mark is unique and documents a moment in time. My observations and responses are distilled into line.
I then transform and develop the drawings by cutting, re-assembling and stitching. Existing drawn lines are emphasized with stitch whilst additional lines derived from separate studies are imposed over the surface. The diversity of drawn and stitched marks create unique textures and quality of lines throughout the work. The drawn line is immediate whilst stitching is slower and more reflective. Occasionally figures are identifiable, whilst in contrast a line may represent a gesture or brief moment in time. The layers of drawn and stitched lines record an accumulation of observations, mapping encounters and experiences. The pieces are complex and intense in their construction. Constructing them is often physical and enduring. They become the embodiment of the artist and a record of the time taken to produce them.
The work explores the effects of overlaying multiple images. The viewer is required to interpret the image creating a dialogue between the physical and unconscious body. The layers of different materials and processes create images which seek to achieve a deliberate ambiguity giving rise to the many possibilities of interpretation. The viewer is encouraged to consider where one process ends and another begins. The work demands the viewer’s time to understand and interpret the different lines and shadows and make sense of their meaning based upon their own multi layered experiences. The quality and range of marks encourages the viewer to reflect upon the complexities and expressions found within the spectrum of human nature.