"In her intricate embroideries and weavings abstract patterns of numinous power emerge from shimmering multi-coloured backgrounds. Whether achieved through the use of thread on cotton canvas, enlivened by paint and gilding, or through the complex interactions of a four shaft loom, these shapes give vivid three-dimensional form to complex underlying mathematical structures. Ethereal and mysterious in origin, these presences are also somehow earthily grounded through their embodiment in thread - this fundamental cultural material, which reaches back through millennia, but also gave birth to the digital present and future, through the sophisticated technology of the loom." Emma Crichton-Miller, an extract from a full essay written for Charlton's Syzygy exhibition.
London-based American artist Cecilia Charlton received a BFA Painting in 2015 from Hunter College in NYC, and an MA Painting from the Royal College of Art, London in 2018. She creates hand-sewn embroideries that engage with the formal histories of abstraction to explore a broad range of themes including the cosmos, memory, and current events. Through manipulations of geometric pattern and colour her artworks achieve an optically challenging and playful approach, questioning the hierarchy between painting and textiles.
Themes of feminism, human history, time and transcendence are inherently part of the hand-sewn work, and her investigation into the history of textiles from creative, cultural, and socio-economic perspectives underpins Charlton’s studio practice. Spanning the mediums of textiles, installation, and art in the social sphere, the work results in conversation tending towards both the personal and the universal.
Charlton has exhibited in the UK and internationally; her recent exhibitions include: Mammoth Loop, SPACE Ilford, 2021 (solo); Aurora, Candida Stevens Gallery, 2020 (solo); Parade, curated by Kris Day, Broadway Gallery, UK, 2019; SURGE: The Eastwing Biennial, Courtauld Institute, London, 2018; Rogue Objects, curated by spaceship, University College London, London, 2018.
Some awards include the Jerwood Makers Open Award in 2021; The Abbey Fellowship in Painting at the British School at Rome 2021 (shortlisted); Fulbright UK Scholarship in 2015 (shortlisted), and the Ellen Battel Stockel Fellowship as part of the Yale University Norfolk Residency in 2014.