Tiles and Textiles at Tashkeel
The way that Fay McCaul has integrated metallic foil, plastic, dichroic film and netting together to create the panel structures that make up the hanging panels for Willow Surface are almost impossible to capture in a picture. The reflective film, inserted using a knitting technique and then heat-pressed inside the netting, catches the light with every slight movement of the suspended artwork and is almost transfixing to watch. Her Tashkeel Tiles, which is fixed on the wall opposite are rendered with equal detail. This work is a 25-piece modular wall piece inspired by the rich geometric patterns seen across the Islamic world. To make it, McCaul cut hundreds of shapes from materials including foil and wood, and enmeshed them between layers of cotton and netting. Her aesthetic, which fuses geometric patterns finished with reflective surfaces is apparent in every work in her current exhibition at Tashkeel, where she has just completed a three-month residency.
McCaul is a London-based designer who utilises modern materials with traditional knitting techniques to create intricate designs and interior pieces. She is determined to change perceptions around knitting by bringing it into the contemporary sphere and has a fascination with finding the most unusual materials to make up her work.
For me, discovering her work was a complete joy when I visited the gallery last week. I find the work sumptuous and calming and honestly, I wanted to take every piece home with me.
The second half of the gallery is filled with work by Christine Müller, the second artist in 2017-18 residency programme. Müller is based in Basel, Switzerland and has a background in textile design. Her time in Dubai was spent discovering patterns, which she traced back to their origins of the Islamic star. She explored that pattern from a post-modern perspective, deconstructing it and overlaying it into unusual visual expressions that she later transferred onto fabric. The colours she used for these textile pieces, which hang like flags inside the Tashkeel gallery are inspired by the UAE’s natural pallet. She uses dusty beige to sun-faded pinks, copper green and water blue.
To fully enjoy Müller’s work, you must walk through the flags that hang down below eye level and experience the constant flux that the artist intended to represent the movement of the city itself.