Two days after arriving home from Canada and USA, I was on the road back to Sturt. On the way, I stopped off at the opening of Exposition in Warwick Regional Art gallery. In fact Glenys Mann and I co-opened it with a discussion on how it came about, the artists involved and the response to the concept.
It all began about 2 years ago with a drive. We were on the way to Warwick for me to open Glenys’s exhibition. Somehow the idea was mooted that it would be fun to gather a group of artists from across a range of media and see how individually each would respond to a common theme. What sort of theme: a word or group of words, an image? This is what transpired. The title was chosen: Exposition. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary of 1933 provides the meaning: “The selection of some sensible object, in order to prove a general relation apprehended by the intellect.” An image was chosen for the artists to respond to.
These are the exhibiting artists: Cass Holmes, UK; Deb McArdle, Aust; Diane Savona, USA; Dionne Swift, UK; Elizabeth Lada Gray, Aust; Estelle Virgen, Aust; Heike Gerbig, Germany; Mary Hettmansperger, USA; Pamela Fisher, Aust; Glenys Mann, Aust. and myself.
The range of work is amazing. Some responded directly to the image, others used an association of ideas, some responded to the words. I am unable to share images of all the works.
Glenys obviously responded to the image with her works titled Tag.
Artist Statement The definition of Tag (from The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary published 1933)
- One of the narrow often pointed pendent pieces made by slashing the skirt of a garment; hence any hanging ragged or torn piece; also, any end or rag of ribbon or the like.
- A small pendent piece or part hanging from, or attached more or less loosely to the main body of anything.
- A point of hard substance at the end of lace, string, strap or the like to facilitate its insertion through the eyelet-hole, when externally visible, often ornamental.
- To furnish or mark with or as with a tag (in various senses).
- To append as an addition or afterthought: to fasten, tack on, or add as a tag to something.
- To fasten or tack together; to join. To join or string together.
Truda Newman in front of my works: A Collection of Curiosities I, II, III.
My artists Statement: This bottle speaks of times past. It reminds me of bottles arranged on country museum shelves, dusty bottles left on shelves and found hidden away in cupboards in old family homes. It also reminds me of other containers used in the same way: wooden boxes, shoe boxes, jars and my Dad’s baccy tins. Labels, if they are still attached are tied on with bits of string or with yellowing peeling sticky tape; the writing spidery, faded, indecipherable. Maybe they contain something and maybe there are traces of what was in them. Sometimes these bits and pieces were left over from past projects or acquired and stored because they might be useful. Sometimes one comes across real treasures: a lovely collection of buttons or old coins perhaps.
I have containers of odds and ends, things I couldn’t bear to throw out and things that I might need sometime in the future. I have containers of various bits of hardware: nails, screws and washers and fishing gear kept in plastic film canisters. I have my Dad’s baccy tins, bottles and jars of all shapes and sizes holding all manner of useful sewing items, art supplies, heirlooms. These curiosities have been inherited or collected over my lifetime.
There are two elements I wished to identify in this series: the bottle/container and the label. The fabric has been woven in doubleweave allowing pockets to be formed to hold various items: curiosities with the “indecipherable” label being represented by the superimposed inlaid brocaded shapes.
Details of two of the works.
The exhibition continues till the 17th August 2014. I would like to acknowledge the gallery staff as they have done a wonderful job in the presentation of the exhibition.
Back to Sturt and the start of term. Students are working on a variety of pieces in a wide range of techniques: some are specific projects, others are samples exploring various techniques. Some were begun last term so will be finished soon.
This last weekend saw the opening of a significant basketry exhibition at Sturt. It is a retrospective of Virginia Kaiser’s work. Virginia’s career spanned over 30 years and as the curator of the exhibition, Slavica Zivkovic, writes in the catalogue “The Poetry of Place is an exhibition by one of Australia’s foremost contemporary basket-makers, who will be remembered for her integrity of practice and her innovative techniques.” Some of the baskets are from her estate while others are from acquired collections. In addition the exhibition includes materials and equipment she used and drawings from her notebooks. It is an extremely comprehensive and well produced exhibition. Eventually it will go to Broken Hill, where she had her studio.
A number of basket making workshops were run to coincide with the opening. Sturt was a very exciting place to be. The weaving studio hosted 3 x 1 day worksops. I enjoyed seeing the hive of activity as I passed through.
Harriet Goodall and “On the Wall- Basketry beyond the vessel.
Words left behind on the whiteboard after the weekend provide food for thought:
What is the craft of being human?
The material, myself, that I have to work with constantly changes. It has qualities of clay, glass, metal, wood, fibre, wool; it is brittle, flexible, malleable, obdurate.
It is as if the study of being human is the ultimate craft and all the crafts reflections of it.
The Work of Craft, Carla Needleman.
Is Spring just around the corner?