Research - Critical Review
Sue Pritchard, Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London reviewed Neil’s work on 15th July 2010:

"In a climate of economic, environmental and cultural uncertainty, Neil Bottle has embarked on a new chapter in his career. In the twenty years since he won the Painter Stainers Award for Printed Textiles, he has worked ceaselessly to develop and refine his technique, combining the traditional with the innovative. Bottle is, at heart, an alchemist, experimenting and mixing paint, print and dyes transforming the two dimensional into a world of pattern, texture and colour. This is no illusion created with smoke and mirrors - Bottle’s constant quest for perfection demands both discipline and a rigorous knowledge of his materials. In many ways these exuberant textiles reflect both the artist’s personality and his practice – an eclectic mix of architectural and geometric influences combined with signs and symbols underpinned by textual homage to the passing of time.

This mix is perhaps a reflection of Bottle’s decision to site his design studio on the East Kent Coast – an area where the tensions created between elemental landscape and urban regeneration combine to create a harmonious whole personified by his unique and limited edition textiles. His new collection also embraces the exotic - examining and reflecting the subtle nuances of the world’s shared textile history, in itself a story of continuing development and innovation. Hand and digital design are juxtaposed with an experimentation pleating process – the subtlety of the design revealing a complex hidden narrative of words and numbers which stir memories of the futuristic world of ‘The Matrix’. Yet the earthy colours - the pungent terracottas, parched greens, misty lavenders and flash of vibrant azure remind us of Bottle’s recent sojourns in the Middle East and India and the vitality of experiencing new cultures – the cacophony of sights, sounds and smells which both excite and confuse the senses.

Since 2007 Bottle has embraced abstraction, his work reflecting a departure in both content and technique from his earlier, more figurative designs. This relentless pursuit of the creative possibilities still to be discovered by a combination of the artisan with high tech applications is leading Bottle in new directions. As his new work explores new terrain, Bottle offers up a passionate invitation to join him on his journey of discovery. The American historian, Ruth Schwartz Cowan, states, ‘Technology has been a fact of human life as long as they have been human lives... since man rubbed two stones together to make a spark’. Bottle delights in pushing the boundaries of technology and his artistic practice - I think we should join him on his quest."