Emerging Peterborough: BMP FLOWERZ

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Curated by Fynn Leitch

Looking to the future as we come to the end of our 40th anniversary year, this exhibition series showcases the work of regional emerging artist William Joel Davenport.

This exhibition of woven tapestries is the result of an expanded materials investigation in William Joel Davenport’s work. Having worked extensively with bitmaps, the move to jacquard woven textile is a logical next step for the artist. In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a powered loom that automatically read punched cards to produce intricate woven patterns and fabrics such as brocade, damask, and matelasse. The cards communicated a sequence of operations through binary coding: zeros and ones; punched or not punched. Though incapable of computation, the jacquard loom led to the development of modern computer programming.

In BMP FLOWERZ, Davenport works within the constraint of binary coding and the limitation of a black and white palette to create representations of flowers in small variations of bitmap tessellation. Working with such ubiquitous imagery as flowers, Davenport nods to the history of art, but also utilizes the flower’s recognisability in another way. Creating graphics with these constraints, whether in low-bit video game design or textiles, requires consideration of how a picture-plane is processed into an image; the success of the design relies partly on our brains’ ability to fill in perceived missing data, attempting to smooth the bold graphic warp and weft of black and white thread. In this way, Davenport posits a tension between the image and the medium, allowing each to momentarily obscure the other.


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