Kashmir shawls inspire painting exhibition in UK

Leeds: Based on literary research and the Sir Michael Sadler Kashmir Shawl Collection at ULITA (University of Leeds International Textile Archive), the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds will exhibit new paintings and works on paper commissioned from artist Pip Dickens from 18 January to 14 April 2012.

Dickens extrapolates the Kashmiri ‘boteh’ motif from these exotic fabrics resulting in anthropomorphic entities, heavy with shadow, placed within dramatic environments. These motifs traverse the canvas – sometimes together, sometimes alone. The environments and terrains she has constructed fuse textile qualities (colour, surface texture, repetition and shape) with the theatrical and fantastic.

She has visited methodologies and imagery of Hieronymus Bosch, Disney animation and the claustrophobic ‘arena’ interiors of Francis Bacon to present her boteh shapes as individuals, or groups, in socio-political contexts that, although brightly coloured suggest an underlying threat or sense of isolation.

Pip Dickens has a Masters in Fine Art from The Slade School of Art (UCL, London) graduating in 2000. She studied her BA at Leeds Metropolitan University where she has been both a Visiting Lecturer and, from 2006 – 2008, a part-time lecturer on the BA (Hons) Fine Art degree course. She has also promoted visual and performance art whilst Marketing Officer at Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery & Theatre prior to embarking on her MFA. She was a part-time lecturer at Hull College of Art & Design and a Visiting Lecturer at Leeds College of Art & Design and the University of Lincoln.

She was shortlisted for the NatWest Art Prize in 1997 and is the recipient of the Jeremy Cubitt Prize (Slade School of Fine Art). She also won the Edna Lumb Art Travel Prize in 1995 where she travelled to Iceland. She was a nominee for the Jerwood Contemporary Painters 2009 and shortlisted for the Celeste Painting Prize 2009. Her recent, substantial, solo exhibition ‘Toward the Light: Pip Dickens’ at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford will tour selected venues in the UK until end 2012. In 2010-2011 she was the Leverhulme Trust Award Artist in Residence at the University of Huddersfield, Department of Music.

In addition to her painting practice she has worked with Ken Shuttleworth’s architectural practice, Make Architects, on a major integral public art  commission for a prestigious development in London. Her work has been purchased by a variety of private collectors including architects, commercial, leisure and financial institutions.