Blanket bombing

Conor Jeory's exhibition Beds and Lying in Them (at Verve) has a war theme.

Conor Jeory's exhibition Beds and Lying in Them (at Verve) has a war theme.

BATTLE DRESSING: Gisborne artist Conor Jeory with work from his ever-changing show, Beds and Lying in Them.

Picture by Paul Rickard

The war room’s table-top battleground comes to mind in Conor Jeory’s Beds and Lying in Them show at Verve cafe.

In World War 2 movies, secretaries rake tanks and troops, submarines and ships, into position as tactics develop. A similar principle applies to Jeory’s free-hanging fields of blanket and pool table baize that feature coarsely sewn ships, submarines and stealth bombers at war.

Colour-coded missiles and shells rain across the fabric and across the wall in between. Battle materials are pinned, stapled and blu-tacked to the blankets to create tapestries that are subject to change. Multi-coloured battleships and bombers can be unpinned and relocated and shelling could change direction or seek different targets.

“I have a heap of ships and bombs sewn up,” says Jeory. “I have a briefcase full of land launchers and rail-mounted launchers. Nothing is finished. The Bayeux tapestry is finished and discusses things that happened.”

The 15th century tapestry depicts events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and culminates in the 1066 Battle of Hastings.

“Beds and Lying in Them discusses things we are in the middle of and that are kicking off. This is more the end of times but I’m not describing any one person.”

Like war, there is no end to it and the lines between good guy and bad guys is indeterminate, so Jeory does not see his tapestries as a “work in progress”, just as a work.

“This is about building a tapestry. Nothing is fixed, nothing is decided yet. When I came up with the idea of tacking it together with pins it gave it a fluidity.”

He describes war machinery such as the B52 bomber as some of the most beautiful pieces of engineering known to man. Design goes into every detail down to the last rivet. But the work hung in Verve is not exquisite, says Jeory.

“Nothing is hemmed or cover-stitched. It’s basically sketching. It’s something I’d rather not depict.”

The base material is not as tortured as New Zealand artist James Robinson’s scorched, sutured, nailed and pinned canvases but it is deliberately coarse.

“I’m describing these exquisite machines with upholstery fabric and bedding. These exquisite machines wrench apart what’s inside these things – bodies in clothing and beds. The materials are soft and colourful but I’m describing a horrific thing with jaunty stitching.”

Only when he was able to hang the pieces on the cafe’s walls was Jeory able to see what his creation looked like, he says.

“I’m lucky to have an environment like Verve to experiment with this. I’ve always loved the democratic nature of the cafe.”

The war room’s table-top battleground comes to mind in Conor Jeory’s Beds and Lying in Them show at Verve cafe.

In World War 2 movies, secretaries rake tanks and troops, submarines and ships, into position as tactics develop. A similar principle applies to Jeory’s free-hanging fields of blanket and pool table baize that feature coarsely sewn ships, submarines and stealth bombers at war.

Colour-coded missiles and shells rain across the fabric and across the wall in between. Battle materials are pinned, stapled and blu-tacked to the blankets to create tapestries that are subject to change. Multi-coloured battleships and bombers can be unpinned and relocated and shelling could change direction or seek different targets.

“I have a heap of ships and bombs sewn up,” says Jeory. “I have a briefcase full of land launchers and rail-mounted launchers. Nothing is finished. The Bayeux tapestry is finished and discusses things that happened.”

The 15th century tapestry depicts events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and culminates in the 1066 Battle of Hastings.

“Beds and Lying in Them discusses things we are in the middle of and that are kicking off. This is more the end of times but I’m not describing any one person.”

Like war, there is no end to it and the lines between good guy and bad guys is indeterminate, so Jeory does not see his tapestries as a “work in progress”, just as a work.

“This is about building a tapestry. Nothing is fixed, nothing is decided yet. When I came up with the idea of tacking it together with pins it gave it a fluidity.”

He describes war machinery such as the B52 bomber as some of the most beautiful pieces of engineering known to man. Design goes into every detail down to the last rivet. But the work hung in Verve is not exquisite, says Jeory.

“Nothing is hemmed or cover-stitched. It’s basically sketching. It’s something I’d rather not depict.”

The base material is not as tortured as New Zealand artist James Robinson’s scorched, sutured, nailed and pinned canvases but it is deliberately coarse.

“I’m describing these exquisite machines with upholstery fabric and bedding. These exquisite machines wrench apart what’s inside these things – bodies in clothing and beds. The materials are soft and colourful but I’m describing a horrific thing with jaunty stitching.”

Only when he was able to hang the pieces on the cafe’s walls was Jeory able to see what his creation looked like, he says.

“I’m lucky to have an environment like Verve to experiment with this. I’ve always loved the democratic nature of the cafe.”

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