Aymee Charlton’s new exhibition “Tactile Bodies” brings a new style of artwork to The Small Gallery. This series of prints on silk feature a display of different colours and patterns, all using natural dyes composed of plant matter. Some are rich reds, purples and yellows, while others are a more muted palette. The botanical dying method Aymee has used nods to ancient forms of craft and fabric work used prior to the invention of synthetic dyes. The environmentally friendly nature of this process is important to the work, as the artist recognises the need for art making that is sustainable.  

The organic forms and patterns in these artworks trigger thoughts of the natural world. Their abstract nature means they will prompt varying reactions from viewers, who will notice different things in the array of shapes. Personally I am drawn to the pieces in shades of grey and mauve, with the clustered arrangement of patches and flecks remind me of seal skin. It makes me think of selkies; mythological creatures from Scottish folk lore that move between human and seal form by taking off and putting on their seal skin. Perhaps this connection is also drawn from Aymee’s artist statement in which she links her art to her work in dermatology, and considers the idea of fabric as a protective second skin. It is clear that her two roles, nurse and artist, are intertwined within this exhibition.  

Phoebe Banks is currently working with GHAT as a Gallery Assistant and is a practicing artist in her own right. Her practice  intersects writing, sculpture and video.  Phoebe is also part of artists’ collective Tactics for Togetherness and creative duo CUSP, a collaboration with artist and friend Jess Wilson-Leigh