Cloth, in its intimate relationship with our body bears the marks of our being, both on the surface and embedded within the structure. The strains, stresses, stains and smells we impress upon this second skin form an archive of our most intimate life. At the same time, cloth is also the membrane through which we establish our sense of ‘becoming’, and formalise our relationship with the external world, while the fabric remorselessly records the evidence of those interactions. Cloth holds the memory of our time and connects us with memories of other times and other places.

The three artists in this exhibition have developed these ideas around cloth and memory through their own concerns and media. All visited Salts Mill and Saltaire and have created their work as a response to the history of the place: the memory of cloth and the making of cloth that has seeped into the fabric of the building. Their works reference the importance of cloth as the accompanying witness to our life and the lives of others.

Beverly-Ayling Smith is using cloth – its wear, tear and embellishment – as a metaphor for the stages of mourning we may encounter as we move from loss to acceptance. Carol Quarini’s installation transforms the domestic net curtain from witness to complicit malefactor in the hidden lives of others no longer present. Bob White is making paintings of cloth and clothing as a carrier of discovered memory that becomes embedded within the cloth of the painting itself.

The narrative contained within the work of all three artists is engaging and ambiguous, inviting us to bring our own stories to the table, our own memories activated by their attentiveness to the surface, structure, fold and crease of the cloth.