Lawrence Calver — Shaped by Serendipity and Time

Lawrence Calver (b. 1992) is a British artist known for his large-scale textile artworks. He studied Creative Direction of Fashion at the London College of Fashion. His work is characterized by a diverse range of materials, including reused, recycled and historical fabrics such as cotton, silk, linen, suede, and wool. This gives his work not only a special visual but also a conceptual depth.

He uses techniques such as sewing, bleaching, stretching, and dyeing to alter the nature of the materials and breathe new life into them. In doing so, he views his work as an organic process of experimenting and discovering. Furthermore, he embarks on a journey of improvisation through his materials and occasionally employs unconventional methods, such as immersing fabrics in clay for weeks at a time. In this way, time also becomes an elemental aspect of his art.

Lawrence Calver, Still Life Through Sun, 2023, Dye and bleach on stitched cotton, 160 × 180 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy De Brock Gallery
Still Life Through Sun, 2023, Dye and bleach on stitched cotton, 160 × 180 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy De Brock Gallery
Lawrence Calver, Dusky, 2020, Dye and clay on stitched linen, ca. 323 x 251 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
Dusky, 2020, Dye and clay on stitched linen, ca. 323 x 251 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery

Calver’s oeuvre ranges from dynamically colorful, geometric to minimalist, calm and monochrome compositions. They are a mixture of abstract and representative elements, always with a focus on the textures of his materials. Due to his background in fashion direction, Calver sees himself as the “director” of his artworks, allowing the materials to spontaneously guide the creative process. They are therefore not only a medium, but also a precursor to his creative process.

Each of his works has a unique identity, and Calver sees his role as creating and supporting this identity. His art celebrates the beauty and potential of materials shaped by serendipity and time. He invites us as viewers to explore the idea that there was a life before the work — a story from making to reclamation. In doing so, Calver’s works explore themes of time, place, and memory. They hint at the geographical and historical origins of the materials, celebrating the diverse history that these materials hold.

Building on the materials’ ancestral traits, my role is to arrange, to add, and to take away, allowing the balance of intention and serendipity guide the visual performance of each outcome.

Lawrence Calver via De Brock Gallery
Lawrence Calver, Jumping Hurdles, 2021, stitched raffia palm fibres on dyed cotton, 112 x 148 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy De Brock Gallery
Jumping Hurdles, 2021, stitched raffia palm fibres on dyed cotton, 112 x 148 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy De Brock Gallery
Lawrence Calver, Scouts, 2020, stitched linen, 262 x 212 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy De Brock Gallery
Scouts, 2020, stitched linen, 262 x 212 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy De Brock Gallery
Lawrence Calver, Deep Blue, 2020, Dyed and stitched wool, 270 x 219 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
Deep Blue, 2020, Dyed and stitched wool, 270 x 219 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
Lawrence Calver, Distance, 2020, Clay dyed and stitched linen and cotton, 230 x 190 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
Distance, 2020, Clay dyed and stitched linen and cotton, 230 x 190 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
Lawrence Calver, New blue, 2020, Dyed wool on stretched linen, ca. 269 x 330 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
New blue, 2020, Dyed wool on stretched linen, ca. 269 x 330 cm © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
Lawrence Calver, Field Painting, 2019, Stitched wool and cotton, ca. 160 x 180 © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery
Field Painting, 2019, Stitched wool and cotton, ca. 160 x 180 © The Artist, Image Courtesy Simchowitz Gallery

Further Reading / Resources

https://lawrencecalver.com/
https://www.debrockgallery.com/artists/lawrence-calver
https://www.simchowitz.com/artists/lawrence-calver/biography

Aesence is an independent art and design publication dedicated to minimalist aesthetics. Founded out of a deep appreciation and fascination, Aesence aims to promote awareness and appreciation of minimalism in art and design.