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Apocalypse ­ New Work By Gordon Cook

Apocalypse ­ New Work By Gordon Cook
Idiom Studio, 4 ­ 22 September

Machine embroidery, more often used to produce school crests for blazers, is one of the techniques chosen by Wellington artist Gordon Crook for his latest exhibition at Idiom Studio.

Gordon’s powerfully graphic fabric banners are hanging in New Zealand embassies around the world, as well as in the Michael Fowler Centre, the Dowse Art Museum and elsewhere. For this new exhibition, titled apocalypse, he has used smaller images inspired by the Book of Revelations in the Bible.

the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood (2002)
machine embroidery 20 x 25 cm

“Many years ago I saw some mediaeval Belgian tapestries describing the Apocalypse. The images are extraordinary, but that Christian fundamentalism, all that sin and punishment, is often horrifying. So I’ve used the language of Revelations to inspire my own happier images.”

Gordon took his drawings to a Wellington firm producing machine embroidery and worked closely with the head designer, Ethan Couchman. This is the first time in his long career that Gordon has worked in this medium, and he describes the results as “an inventive collaboration” with Ethan.

Gordon Crook at work on this exhibition,
by Julia Brooke-White

Ethan says “We scanned (Gordon’s) images and I manipulated the computer file to define the stitching for our machines. We bought some cottons in specially to provide the colours he wanted. Gordon was a joy to work with, because his designs were so strong and simple.”

As well as the small machine embroidered works, the exhibition includes tapestries hand-woven by Gordon’s longtime collaborator, Nelson weaver Leslie Nicholls, and images laser-printed on archival paper.

“I’m not illustrating the apocalypse,” says Gordon, “but using it as a source for my own imagery. It’s made me think about how religion is often murderous in its exclusive nature, and that’s what the world is suffering from now.’


For more information, photographs of artworks or to interview the artist, contact Mark Derby, ph. (04) 939 1215 or (027) 279 049, Idiom Studio, 26 Elizabeth St, Mt Victoria

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