Abigail Barnes wins MA Student Award 2017

Abigail Barnes wins MA Student Award 2017

The work of Abigail Barnes is sensory and exquisite. The judges were impressed by the level of skill and craftsmanship demonstrated in the production of the work, and how this was deployed to creative effect (rather than being an end in itself).

Materials such as leathers, furs and silks were being utilised to form highly decorative embellished and constructed cloths that had the potential for a wide variety of applications. There was an elegant fusion between the digital and ‘hand’ processes with media and materials being sensitively and carefully selected.

The work occupies that strange and wonderful aesthetic that is almost the abject; it is both compelling in its beautiful execution and sensory apparatus, yet also repulses in its flesh coloured tonal grounds that grow precise extrusions of dense, massed detailing. It could be the body turned inside; reflected back on itself through scopes and lenses. But these textiles are not visceral; they call out to be stroked, handled and held. There is a collision here between embellishment for and ‘on’ the textile and what maybe considered the artefact of jewellery, whilst the photographic documentation of the work hinted at the possibility of exciting graphic and image-based applications.

Work that still has a ‘journey’ to travel is always exciting. Student work (especially) should show the potential of itself rather than be at a point of closure, and it was for this reason that the judges were particularly impressed with Abigail’s application. It is hoped that the bursary will help her to explore these aspects of her practice further following the completion of her MA in Mixed Media Textiles at The Royal College of Art.