UH Arts + Culture and St Albans Museum + Gallery are delighted to present the first major survey exhibition of sculptural textile work by acclaimed artist Anna Ray. 

Working from a studio in Hertfordshire, Anna Ray has an impressive international commissioning and exhibition record with her stitched artwork. This solo exhibition focuses on Ray’s large-scale sculptural wall pieces created over the past 20 years, and features two newly commissioned works entitled Mesh and Rosette, which have been fabricated during the pandemic. Also displayed are Ray’s studio experiments and sketches which provide a fascinating insight into the artist’s practice.

Ray’s work is highly accessible and appealing, while also pioneering within the field of art textiles and soft sculpture. Her assemblages are full of joy and life – their palette bright and varied, their surface rich and highly tactile. The artist’s practice is a perpetual experimentation – consistently exploring and pushing the boundaries of the conventions of textile art – across form, scale and assembly. She sees the actions of her body as part of the work; the process of building and dismantling components becoming a form of performance.

“I want my pieces to float, gather or fall naturally – to be themselves, to become exquisite. The qualities – weight, strength, weakness, drape – of the artwork as it develops tend to lead the way in terms of final install, so there is an element of problem solving until the very end of the process.” 

This ambitious exhibition gives us glimpses into Ray’s creative process from initial experiments to epic soft sculptures, and offers a unique opportunity to unite and showcase her extraordinary body of work in a new context.

The exhibition is extended through an accompanying text by Ann Coxon, Curator of International Art at Tate Modern, which can be read here.