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Permutations (2019)

Richard McVetis

hand-embroidered cotton on wool

Huddersfield Art Gallery (Kirklees Museums and Galleries)





Embroidered (hand)


21 x 26 cm


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Omega Fund, 2021/22

Ownership history:

Purchased from the artist by the Contemporary Art Society, 2022; presented to Huddersfield Art Gallery (Kirklees Museums and Galleries), 2021/22
Richard McVetis’s practice is deeply rooted in process and ritual-making. For over a decade, he has been using hand embroidery to record time and geographical space through dots, lines and crosses. His work is intricate, with each stitch embodying a deliberate thought and a record of human presence through time. McVetis’s work is often created during a predetermined or durational period; in this way, it has a performance-like quality, although the performance is executed in private.

Two Cubes is part of a series called Units of Time, which seeks to visualise and give time material form, translating the intangible into the tactile. The objects orbit each other, describing the individual expression of McVetis’s time. The work consists of two cubes that have been intricately embroidered to give the impression of a circle.

On one cube, it is the circle which holds the stitches; on the other, the stitches are everywhere except in the central circle. Permutations is a mediation on McVetis’s cubed works. Here, twelve objects have been rearranged and reconstructed to form a new entity. What was once cubes has been laid flat. This reworking of the cubes could mean that this piece, rather than measuring time, is more akin to reflecting on old memories, or perhaps trying to see the same situation from a different perspective.

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