Silhouette en Dentelle 10 March 2018

Mal Burkinshaw in collaboration with Sophie Hallette Lace 

‘Silhouette en Dentelle’ – Series 2013-2017

Sophie Hallette Lace, hand appliquéd onto tailored jackets in nylon netting.*

Mal Burkinshaw’s series of jackets were produced in response to the body shapes and garments of sitters in the portraits of the  Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s Reformation to Revolution Gallery. Sources of inspiration include Margaret Graham, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI & I, Lady Arabella Stuart and Lady Agnes Douglas.

Lace Unarchived

Mal Burkinshaw Silhouette en Dentelle Jacket 7

The use of lace directly relates to the centuries of continuous craftsmanship involved in making this delicate material, which was a signifier of wealth, status and hierarchy in the Renaissance.  Black lace, in particular, was favoured but is rarely seen in portraiture of the time. This work thus reinstates and celebrates the wearing of black lace during the Renaissance.

In collaboration with renowned lace producers Sophie Hallette, his work creates a dialogue between past and present notions of “normalised” body shapes through a metamorphosis of silhouette and scale, by fusing the modern classic jacket with renaissance fashion.

The jackets were designed in sequential scale, and do not conform to specific UK size measurements and are designed to be non-gender specific, asking viewers to question their perception of beauty relating to body size.

The jackets are the result of over 800 hours of embellishment. Mal used a large light box, collaging intricately cut motifs of lace, which were subsequently appliquéd by hand onto contemporary ‘high-performance’ netting. The process of creating each piece was both reactive and instinctive; in a sense each jacket has been ‘painted with lace’.

The practice led garment research technique departs from the usual practice of fashion design that involves draping fabric on the mannequin (an ‘idealised’ model body) and working to traditional garment sizes. Instead, garments are developed that are, while recognizably clothing, independent of the body, acting as artefacts in their own right. In Beauty by Design, this way of working was brought to bear on garments depicted in renaissance paintings.

Lace Unarchived

Mal Burkinshaw in collaboration with Sophie Hallette Lace, photographed By Stuart Munro

These garments, boned, corseted as they were, distort the body shape of the wearer in distinctly un-modern ways, bringing into question, over time, our own conceptions of beauty. Burkinshaw reinterpreted these garments in transparent fabric, further dramatizing the tension between the shape of these clothes themselves and the bodies that might wear them. The work is designed to open multi-layered contemplative questions relating to body image, beauty, gender, identity and sexuality.

*presented for Lace Unarchived as a video projection

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Visiting us safely 14 September 2020

We are delighted to reopen to the public on Monday 17 May with Here, the Gold Ones meet by Reactor, and we have put several measures in place to make your visit safe.

These measures have been informed by Government and National Museum Directors Council guidance. They are constantly under review, subject to change and may vary slightly depending on Government guidance and the official roadmap out of lockdown. Please check back to this page prior to planning your visit. 
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50 Years of Curating and Creating Contemporary Art 12 August 2019

Bonington Gallery has been a significant part of the cultural landscape of Nottingham for half a century. Its diverse and ambitious artistic programme has consistently presented the forefront of creative practice and through this has gained a national reputation.

The gallery has showcased the very best in visual and performing arts from across the world – so join us, as we plan to make the next 50 years just as memorable.

Read more in our latest blog post.

The Community: Live in Nottingham featured on Notts TV 25 March 2019

Last week, Notts TV’s Charlotte Swindells popped down to the gallery to check out our latest exhibition, catching up with curator Tom Godfrey to find out more about the project.

Watch the video at the link below (segment starts at 27:40):

Chloé Maratta - ARTnews feature 14 January 2019

This April we’re excited to be presenting a two person exhibition between artist, musician and designer Chloé Maratta and artist & musician Joanne Robertson. The exhibition will also involve artefacts from NTU’s School of Art & Design’s high-street fashion archive, FashionMap. Chloé features in a recent ARTnews article that profiles several of the ‘leading lights’ within LA’s art/fashion/music crossover scene:

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