Home Exhibition by Artist Jo Smith will run in our top floor gallery from Saturday 2 July up to and including 13 August

Meet Jo at the opening of her exhibition on Saturday 2 July from 1pm

Art Exhibition

A little about Jo Smith …

My work is generally situated in the domestic and every day, it is people, emotions, the human condition and interactions that inspire me and empathy that is the trigger.

I need to have an emotive response to something to be able to produce the work as I would like the audience to have an emotive response when viewing the finished pieces, there has to be the human element.

Sometimes bleak, it is never without feeling and compassion, it is formed with care, commitment and purpose, I feel compelled and driven to create it.

From relatively small incidents like the passing of family pets to the realities of domestic violence, the breakdown of family relationships, home comforts or lack of them, street violence, the fragility of the human form and abuses against it, all these and more have previously been the focus of my contemporary textiles.

In short – tragedy, sorrow, sadness, loss – Stitched

Since graduating Fine & Applied Art in 2012 I was chosen as an Embroiderers Guild Scholar and am a member of two contemporary textile groups – Prism and Eleven. My work has been published in two books and I am now a fashion and textile tutor based in North East Lincolnshire.

Home – Belong, Belonging, Belongings

Triggered by a number of events, this exhibition is a reflection of some thoughts and feelings on that most special of places – Home. A meandering through this huge subject – from happy children safe and sound in happy homes to those torn from theirs, from unhappy homes and fractured family relationships to those sleeping rough on the streets and from a lifetime of collected possessions and treasured items to what becomes of them when we are no longer here.

Seeing the tragedy played out, in our homes on our TV screens, of those desperate and displaced by war, not knowing where they will find themselves and what their future holds. Their homes now rubble and their once precious belongings scattered, fleeing for their lives with what they can carry and the clothes they’re stood up in. I wanted to capture the thousand yard stare in the eyes of those displaced children, traumatised by the events unfolding around them and the incredible frightening journey they have undertaken,

Stitched and painted against a backdrop of bombed out buildings and row after row of refugee camp tents many of these children may never know what ‘home’ feels like again.

63 Highgate, a house that I walk past every day, once the home of Betty and barely changed over the years with its beautiful garden, wooden window frames and tulip gate, a little two up, two down terrace with all its cast iron fireplaces, loved and long lived in. Now, after Betty has passed and the house sold 63 Highgate is forever changed into two tiny flats with a flattened gravel expanse where the garden used to grow and thrive. The windows here were rescued from the skip, and remain original pieces of the history and past of the house. Stitched portraits of elderly women, anyone of many who could be ‘Betty’ are here gazing out of those same windows that she herself would have looked through daily. The sign from the garden gate also accompanies the windows as do stitched drawings of the house as it used to look, front and back. The little vessel in the bell jar was found in the rubble of the building work, a small relic of a life now passed.

Another home and another Betty, the cyanotypes on fabric are images of a home awaiting house clearance, her most treasured possessions safely in the hands of her loved ones the remainder of items had to be dispersed, these images were taken before the house was cleared and are but a small snapshot of her home as it was, now again, forever changed.

Not all homes are happy and people find themselves homeless for a multitude of reasons, cold and hungry with what little they have carried in bags, the homeless population seems to be growing around us.

With the bite of austerity, money becoming tight and cuts/sanctions harsh family relationships could easily breakdown and fracture, as illustrated here by the plaster hands – we are tied and connected to those we love, despite the cracks that may appear. We have little idea of what goes on behind closed doors, home may not always be a place of security and happiness, it could be a place of misery and sorrow.

For the majority of us I must assume that home is just that – a ‘Home’ a place of warmth, joy and comfort, full of love and laughter. Stitched portraits of happy children in happy homes, playing, content and secure offset the sadness of the surrounding pieces.

If nothing else, I hope this exhibition, in its meandering form, makes us consider the meaning of ‘home’ for ourselves and others.

Date: 2nd July 2016

Artist: Jo Smith