Seen and Felt

a joint exhibition by Ray Reynolds & Olivia Keith

The First Gallery, 8th – 23rd September 2012
Open WEEKENDS 11am – 6pm;  weekdays, by pre-arrangement [i.e. no drop-in hours]
(these visiting times are a change to our previous pattern, and will apply to future exhibitions until further notice)

Download 8Mb Poster/Flyer pdf file

Ray is a textile / stitch artist, making her own felt and embroidering it by hand and machine.  The show premieres "Walking Stitch", her project based on the 60-mile Solent Way long-distance footpath, which she has walked in its entirety.

Olivia's practice is multi-disciplinary:  reportage, sculpture, especially.  Her policy is to use natural materials (willow, gall, etc.) which she mainly harvests herself.  Her latest exploration is hand-made paper, cast over 78rpm records, absorbing other elements relevant to the music on the disc.  This will be their first airing.

Olivia will be present, demonstrating periodically on Sept. 23rd

Works marked unframed are complete in themselves, thus hangable without a frame

Fast Forward to Ray Reynolds

OLIVIA KEITH was born and lives in the New Forest, and taught children before becoming a mature Fine Art student at Southampton University in 1997.  On her visiting-card, she describes herself as a reportage artist.  While it IS the mainstay of her livelihood, this isn’t the half of it.  Far more unusual, and thus less marketable, is her diverse 3-D work.  Her sculpture [not always the ideal term for individual pieces] is both grounded – in several senses – and philosophical, and hard-to-categorize (a creativity ‘plus’, in our opinion!)  That said, her work isn’t “difficult”-intellectual:  e.g. she believes in harvesting natural materials, intrinsic to her practice, but you wouldn’t be aware of that to look at them — the rationale is more quiet echo than sound-source, threading throughout her exhibits.  The harvesting is for both creative (making gall inks, say) and structural purposes (like sculptures, some of which “accrete” new elements at every showing:  her

Jonny Angel 2010-12
260cm h x 88cm w x 66cm d
Willow, straw, metal, rope,
"accreted" maccabean leaves
from Furzey, rose-stems
from Mottisfont,
holly leaces from "The First"
2.6m- / 8ft- high Jonny Angel has been at Mottisfont and Furzey Gardens during its lifespan, each time arrayed in foliage taken from the venue).

  What Olivia calls reportage is hardly straightforward illustration.  Either monochrome or subtly coloured, it has aspects of cubism, with multiple, time-lapsed views of a happening which melt into a single frame.  This is partly dictated by her choice of subject in this field:  mostly outdoor cultural / activity events (two recent examples being a pony meet and the New Forest Show).

La Cumparsita — Tango  2012
c.25cm diam. [record-player not
part of sculptural piece]
78rpm record, paper pulp & rose-stems
£90 framed  8 other variants of this

  Her recent making of Daily Paper, a sequence of 365 pieces of ephemera documenting her life with debris of the day, has spawned a series of low-relief paper- & object- castings over old 78rpm dance records relating to each disc’s music.  Being mostly tinted whites, and inevitably relating to each other, they have a meditative, almost devotional effect, possibly unintended (not that this latter point would concern her:  humility to the making process is part of her make-up;  for us, this is another creative gold star).  Seen and Felt features their first airing.

  Olivia shows and appears UK-wide:  a recent high-profile exposure was a HUGE (113m / 370ft) series of murals for Chris Beardshaw’s Urban Oasis at Hampton Court Garden Show.  

Daily Paper  2011 – 12  hanging-frame:  90 h × 66 w × 24cm d  365 hand-made papers c.10cm sq.  NFS

Northumbrian Pipers, Mompesson House  2007  120cm sq.  charcoal on canvas  £750 framed

Cooper and Bolton  2007  120cm sq.  charcoal on canvas  £750 framed  [not in exh.]

Digging Chris Beardshaw's Site, Chelsea Flower Show  2012  60 × 80cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed

Mellstock Band  2007  120cm sq.  charcoal on canvas  £750 framed  [not in exh.]

Moscow Drug Club on the Garden Stage  80 × 60cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed
[MDC is the band's name!]

Aberdeen Angus  60 × 80cm  charcoal on canvas  £195 unframed

Rosie and Queenie (Jersey Cattle), New Forest Show  2012  60 × 80cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed

Temple Installation, Larmer Tree Festival  2012  80 × 60cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed

Protecting the Lawn, Larmer Tree Festival  2012  80 × 60cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed

Sunday Before Opening, Chelsea Flower Show  2012  80 × 60cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed
[That's Chris Beardshaw, in the middle, with his arms folded;  a Chelsea Pensioner looking around the place, in the red uniform:  the event takes place in the grounds of Chelsea Hospital]

Erection of the Main Stage, Larmer Tree Festival  2012  80 × 60cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed

Primitive Sheep, New Forest Show  2012  60 × 80cm  mixed media on canvas  £195 unframed

  Find out more, including her blog, at:

  RAY REYNOLDS was raised in Dorset and graduated in 2001 from the University of Chichester, where her interest in textiles was fired in earnest.  She is inspired by the landscape of Hampshire and the Solent, especially the intense colours of low-tide saltmarsh.  She favours felt (which she makes herself — a practice she also teaches) because it is so easy to manipulate.  Many pieces are based on it, usually worked over with other materials, building up layers of threads embroidered, by hand and machine, into a painterly mêlée of light, textures, illusion and colour.  Although her works are not about the identifiable ‘look’ of a place, most of the locations have a personal significance.  In reflecting these places which are special to her, she is evoking her memories of them, rather than aiming for topographical accuracy.

  Unlike Olivia Keith, Ray Reynolds has no artistic ethos about her materials:  in common with Olivia, though, she is a recycler, secreting disused fabrics and old clothes (e.g. a colourful disused sari) into some of her works — “nothing goes to waste” she says.

  Her series of small worksThe Solent Way, being premiered in Seen and Felt, is the culmination of Walking Stitch, a larger long-running project about the 60-mile footpath from Keyhaven to Emsworth, which (over a period) she has walked in its entirety.  She has made a mini concertina-booklet reproducing all 16 images, copies of which are available at the exhibition.

  Since we’ve met Ray and watched her work develop, we’ve become more aware of how much textile- and felting- practice goes on in our travel- (and cultural) sphere.  In her field, she is one of the best practitioners we’ve come across.  One particular strength is her handling of illusional distance:  many works need a disproportionally long viewing-distance to get their full impact, though (as can be seen from the detail-shots on this page) their textures and hand-work certainly reward close inspection, too.

Keyhaven Panorama  2007  25.5 × 99cm [17.5cm max. dimension across fabric]  mixed stitch on felt / fabric  £290 unframed

Shadows on the Water  2012  c.65cm sq.  mixed stitch on felt  £320 unframed

[detail of] Shadows on the Water, showing irregular shape of surface
[this effect has been altered since photographing the piece, and it's now less wavy]

" and the rain came down"  2012  47 × 97cm  mixed stitch on felt / fabric  £660 unframed  

Walking Stitch:  The Solent Way  2012  15.5cm sq. each  mixed fabric-based media on felt  £75 each / £135 for 2 / £180 for 3.  No.4 [top right] NFS;  No.13 [btm left] Sold

Tower Blocks and Boats (Weston), one of the individual pieces from "The Solent Way"

Yellow  2012  40.5 × 60cm  mixed stitch on felt / fabric  £300 unframed

Golden Hour  2012  36 × 26.5cm  felt

From Langstone to Portsmouth  2012  20 × 34cm  mixed stitch on felt

Shadow of the Breakwater  2012  23 [max.] × 32.5cm  mixed stitch on felt

See more about Ray Reynolds and her work at:

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