Marita Hewitt's latest exhibition Material Efficiencies is made up of two distinct series of works on handmade rag paper. These works emerged out of Hewitt's ongoing interest in the history and processes of pre-industrialised paper production, and the ensuing impact of the material on the development and definition of drawing and illustration. The artist's own paper-making process is both arduous and time-consuming – a single sheet of rag paper taking hours of labour, and all of this before Hewitt even begins to paint. She then works to carefully capture in watercolour the patterns and textures of the same fabrics used in the paper-making, devotedly detailing every imperfection.
Flux Matter(s) is a suite of compositions constructed from a miscellany of fabrics, each with their own unique and tactile history. These large works hold a particular weight; a gravity that is evident both in their physicality and in their corresponding emotive qualities. The paper is thick and heavy, folding over on itself or creasing outward in a way that is distinctly sculptural. With titles that reference their respective months of making, collectively the works function as a sort of lyrical calendar, an unconventional physical mapping of time, whereby the visible scraps of fabric and painted elements provide traces of the artist's own personal and poignant family histories.
Remnants is a sequence of works whose origins are just that – each made from scraps or remnants of material, which Hewitt has so carefully and efficiently salvaged from the paper-making process. These small works appear almost as precious gems that seem to epitomise Hewitt's practice; her appreciation of everyday materials, a delicate and meticulous approach to drawing and making, and her ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability in both her life and work.
Press release courtesy Page Galleries.