There is an amazing experience to be had at the Queensland Art Gallery where an extensive exhibition is on: Portrait of Spain, Masterpieces from the Prado. This exhibition is coming only to Brisbane and has over 100 works. Seven themed rooms have been set up. I have been told that this is the biggest exhibition coming from the Prado. To augment the Prado experience, there is La Sala Del Prado, “ a large scale lounge area complementing the exhibition, which includes an integrated café, fun multimedia activities, drawing activities, daily live Spanish guitar playing and talks on Spanish themes” and of course the exhibition shop.
What makes this exhibition exciting from a textile point of view are the textiles that can be found in the paintings. The one that stands out is The infant Isabella Clara Eugenia and Magdalena Ruiz by Alonso Sanchez Coello and workshop c 1585-88. In the catalogue, the motif is described as embroidered though I heard there is some discussion by textile experts and historians whether the motif could also be woven brocade. Of great interest is also the line at the bottom of the dress which is where the hoop of the farthingale sits. Apparently because the line is so clearly defined, not too many petticoats were being worn underneath the dress. What did take my eye was the velvet on the wall behind her. In discussion with Dr Michael Marendy, (Textile Conservator and Senior Curator, Cultures and Histories Program, Queensland Museum), I found out that the experts suggest that both the dress and velvet originate from Italy, probably from the Florence area.
Also on in Brisbane’s arts precinct is a wonderful textile experience to be had at The Queensland Museum. Dressed by the Best: Fashion, Glamour and Gwen Gilan. Gwen Gilan was the leading dress designer in Brisbane during 1950’s and 60’s. The garments are from the Museum’s archives as well as those on loan from family, friends and clients. Due to popular demand, the exhibition has been extended into next year. Some garments are to be exchanged with new exhibits. Dr Michael Marendy has been the driving force in putting together this comprehensive exhibit.
In June, just before I left for the States and UK, I received a copy of a new book: Shibori Recreated, edited by Leah Rauch with book concept and creation byKaren Davis and Pepa Martin. ISBN 987-0-646-57675-6. The book takes the format of interviews with 19 artists from around the world. I am honoured that I am one of them.
I have recently driven past an icon of Australian folklore. The Black Stump is often used to identify the start of “the Outback”. The tradition started in the 1830’s when land beyond this locality was refered to as being “beyond the Black Stump”.