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Finalist of the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize, Richard McVetis is one of the leading contemporary hand embroidery artists in the UK today. Richard’s art work has been celebrated in galleries, art fairs and museums across the world including Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, South Korea, UAE and the USA. Richard has been a finalist for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2011 and 2017, a finalist for the Cheongju International Craft Prize in 2015 and was selected to be part of the British Pavilion, Form + Motion at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in 2017. He has taught extensively and has been invited to run embroidery masterclasses at a number of institutions, including the Royal College of Art.
McVetis uses a range of media including drawing, installation and textiles to explore our perception of space and time. His minimalist work is an endless exploration, not just of form but of the reclamation and potential of process and repetition within stitch. A step-by-step examination of perspective and scale which unearths the human condition. His process is labour-intensive and centres on the use of hand embroidery that reflects a preoccupation with the repetitive nature of process, exploring the subtle differences that emerge through ritualistic and habitual making. In addition, the mapping of space and marking time and form are central themes. McVetis explores the way time and place are felt, experienced and constructed. Ideas are often developed in response to, or created specifically to a moment, visualising and making this a tactile and tangible object. The pieces created explore how objects, materials and places, through the action of hands, bear witness to the passing of time, of the mundane and monotonous regularity of everyday existence.
McVetis is interested in how process, specifically stitch, can reveal a world seen from within and from a scale that can tell us much more about ourselves, about our own trajectories in space, our own interactions and networks of processes that act as a catalyst for transformation within our lives.
Richard’s artistic practice centres on his training as an embroiderer through the use of traditional hand stitch techniques and mark making. Laboured and meticulously worked wools, multiples of embroidered dots and crosses explore the similarities between pen on paper and thread on fabric. Embroidery has become an extension of this exploration of surface through rendering. Using this limited vocabulary of mark making and deliberately subdued colour to create a binary simplicity.