Like the book used to make the work in ON PAPER, the inspiration is a story of friendship, love, love lost, of life and death, and how these feelings are portrayed through art.
Artists seek inspiration and validation from those who understand. Peter Speight and Ahn Wells were not only friends and companions, but artists who have successfully collaborated on projects by understanding the other’s fundamental inspirations, aspirations and aesthetic sensibilities.
In supporting and nourishing Speight’s art practice, Wells purchased a book, Mummies, Tombs and Treasure: Secrets of Ancient Egypt that would appeal to his interest in Mummies and the afterlife. As fate would have it, Peter was transported there before he received it.
The book is experiencing a new life, recontextualised as strips of material, sewn together by hand. The process may have been been therapeutic as with each stitch a memory. Perhaps the mending expands beyond the physical work.
While the results are typical of Wells’ work in their contemplative elegance, feelings of pain and loss are replaced by fond memories and appreciation for time spent together and inspiration still being received after-life.
These small, delicate, textiles made from pages of books are powerful windows into the soul.
Laura Wilson November 2013
Teacher (Art Theory)Newcastle Art School, NSW, Australia
as published in Studio La Primitive Arts zine issue 3 dec 2013