The artist’s point of departure was the quality and texture of the textiles he now used – sisal. He believed that he should not try to replicate qualities designed in paint. The power-loom had taken over utility weaving and had left the artist-weaver to focus upon producing significant individual aesthetic objects.
Exploring the relationship between craft and art, function, process and image, Beutlich began exhibiting flat-weave tapestries inspired by folk art and continental modernism. He participated in international biennales of tapestry at Lausanne, Switzerland, exhibited wall hangings and woodcuts regularly at the Grabowski Gallery in London from 1963 and later toured in North America.
BIRD OF PREY
Initially the artist used cheap yarns but also worked with the long, soft shiny vegetable fibre, known as jute, which enabled his work to move out onto a sculptural scale. His flowing hanks of sisal and jute were acquired for local authorities and private clients. Bird of Prey is a monumental wall hanging in jute, strongly suggestive of a looming bird. This wall hanging is richly varied in pattern and density, creating a visual richness with long elemental plaits that are held vertically at regular distances. Some are given terminal loops; others dangle like long hair. What is evoked is a hauntingly beautiful yet fearful and mythic image. The viewer senses perhaps an unsettling power emanating from the sometimes visceral, sometimes erotic associations of the sisal forms. At the same time, the head-piece and central body-area seem to invite one to wear this huge piece as a costume in some atavistic ritual, and thus in some sense to internalise the power which such an identification would inspire.