Maxine Bristow: Textile Barriers

9 September 2020 –  31 January 2021

Barrier, ref: 9774-14, is the stock-inventory code for a series of 10 modular sculptural components produced by the artist Maxine Bristow that take the form of temporary ‘barriers’ or ‘handrails’ and intentionally play between a work of art and functional object. Designed so that they could be variably (re)configured within different exhibition and installation contexts, the ‘barriers’ have the potential to physically define space, delineate and divide, afford significance, dictate movement and alternately either deny or allow access.

The artworks consciously reference seminal minimalist sculpture produced in the late 1960s and 70s such as Donald Judd’s floor-based steel modular units. However, unlike their hard-edged minimalist counterparts, Bristow’s modular components are upholstered and subtly embroidered through the labour-intensive process of darning. Rather than take centre-stage, these intentionally gendered interventions only gain access to the influential spaces in which they are exhibited by playing a supporting role, where they could easily be mistaken for institutional furniture and the self-effacing labour intensity of their production could go unoticed. The sculptural components were initially produced for the exhibition Reveal at Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery (2005), where they ‘protected’ the more spectacular work of Grayosn Perry. Within Towneley Hall, they surreptitiouly access the Art Gallery, where two of the modular units are sited in front of one of the highlights of Towneley’s collection – John Zoffany’s painting depicting the celebrated 18th century antiquary and collector Charles Towneley and Friends in His Library at Park Street, Westminister c1970.

As is the case with many national historic collections, the textile interventions are notable as the only artworks within the gallery produced by a female artist. Two further units are sited in front of a bronze bust of Lady Alice O’Hagan, nee Alice Mary Towneley (1846-1921) by Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934).

Following the demise of the male family line in 1978, Lady O’Hagan was also notable as the only female to inherit Towneley Hall before it was eventually sold to Burnley Corporation in 1901.

Following the demise of the male family line in 1978, Lady O’Hagan was also notable as the only female to inherit Towneley Hall before it was eventually sold to Burnley Corporation in 1901.

 

Further information:
  • Restricted opening times Saturday – Thursday, 12.00 pm – 4.45 pm. Booking is essential
  • Location:  Towneley Hall Museum, Towneley Park, Burnley BB11 3RQ
  • Cost: £5 for a 12 month pass
  • Contact: Tel: 01282 477130; http://towneley.org.uk