I know that this is a very strange image to put up at the moment…
But is a bit like gathering the washing off the line to start a-new…
Well it isn’t washing it is cloth that has been stapled to trees for the last 6 months for my new exhibition in May called… YUGEN… more about that closer to the time.
What I have been gathering is a sense of great awareness of emotional response to many things that are too deep and mysterious for words…
The International Art Textile Biennale 2023, which opened last Friday at
East Gippsland Art Gallery in Bairnsdale was one of those phenomenal emotional responses that came when I saw all the remarkable works that were selected from 10 countries, including Australia.
Standing in the gallery surrounded by such power of cloth and fibre, it moved me to tears that awakened many inner thoughts and feelings.
Then to hear the stories from the artists that were able to be at the opening event… made me much more aware that we use this medium to evoke strong emotional feelings.
These talks will be here very soon…. https://www.fibrearts.net.au/biennale.html
There is also this…. https://www.fibrearts.net.au/iatb23-directory.html all the selected works and artist statements.
There is a sense that that Fibre Arts Australia is on the right track when you read and hear from the peers of Art Textiles… like what SUE WOOD said in her opening speech about her selection of the Major Award and the feelings that she had …
It is an honour and privilege to be part of this wonderful project. Congratulations to Glenys Mann and Fibre Arts Australia for their vision in establishing the International Art Textile Biennale and to East Gippsland Art Gallery for supporting that vision. So many exciting arts initiatives originate in regional centres, perhaps because we are so willing to take risks. It is also great to see the number of venues the Biennale will travel to. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase art textiles to a broad audience.
It is a significant achievement to establish a competition and exhibition that attracts entries from across Australia and around the globe. As someone who’s been involved in the Australian textile community for a long time there’s something extremely satisfying about seeing international artists submitting and sending work to an Australian exhibition. For so long it’s been the other way around.
The artists in this show use textile materials, processes, and sensibilities to explore a range of contemporary concerns, both personal and political. The works engage with questions of social justice, environmental concerns, the challenges of living in an increasingly fractured and unstable world. Nothing is off limits. For a maker, the medium of textiles offers unlimited opportunities for expression: colour, texture, multiple ways of working. I think you can see the pleasures of making in the works around you. But there’s another reason to use the textiles. They are central to the human experience. We all experience textiles in one form or another every day of our life. This familiarity is a reason why the medium has been sidelined in the past. But it is also a strength. It means that layers of meaning can be embedded in a textile work for the discerning viewer to uncover. Textiles seduce the viewer, drawing them in and inviting them to contemplate and respond to complex and challenging ideas. And that’s what the works in this exhibition do.
Nearly 20 years ago I wrote a doctoral thesis on embroiderers in NSW in the years between 1960 and 1975. They were women interested in modern approaches to embroidery. They played a role in the development of the textile community in Australia and one of their dreams was to see textiles in general, and embroidery in particular, accepted as art. Standing here, surrounded by such varied and engaging work in an exhibition of international standing there’s no question in my mind that their dream is now a reality.
Catalogue cover art work: Claudia Mazzotta, Australia
And the foreword in the catalogue by me, Glenys Mann, CEO Fibre Arts Australia
The International Art Textile Biennale 2023 seeks to exhibit the best of contemporary art textiles and this the second Biennale, reflects a wide range of works related to the textile medium. The goal of the exhibition is to include innovative work rooted primarily in textile as well as art that explores unexpected relationships between textile and other creative disciplines.
Art Textiles have been enjoying a resurgence after decades of being derided, ignored, or often referred as being ‘craft’ or ‘Women’s work’, in other words “not real art”.
The importance of textiles is being reinstating by way of incredible force and ingenuity, and an intelligent dismantling of established art world ‘rules’, Viewers will be captivated and engaged by the rhythm of the maker and excellence that is exhibited. The selected works in this biennial award pushes previously held notions of textile/fibre, opening a dialogue about what it is to be a textile artist that makes an expression and commentary on content and concept in the 21st Century.
Now textile-based art becomes a powerful and accessible medium in the examination of identity, society, and politics.
This exhibition begins by taking textiles’ artistic legitimacy for granted, a point proven many times over throughout its long history, selecting some of the best and brightest artists working in the world today.
Fibre Arts Australia and the founder, Glenys Mann is committed to developing this significant award and with it an original vision and intentions so that Art Textile practitioners continue to expand, grow, and inspire.
All these words may not mean much to some people, but they mean so much more to many fibre/textile artsists that struggle to be heard or shown.
Keep an eye on this page https://www.fibrearts.net.au/biennale.html for so much more …. this will be added over the next couple of weeks and I hope that you will be able to visit a gallery as it gets close to you … that list is on the Biennale page.
Now that I have gathered all the cloth from the trees… it is time to work on my next exhibition….
I know it is a long blog… but OMG!!! There has been so much going on and I haven’t even told you about the Indian trip… you will have to wait, but not for long!
I came across this section of an article from the Washington Post and it touched a chord...
"Many artists have found that old age, for all its physical and emotional burdens, can be a moment of creative liberation comparable to, even superior to, anything in youth. By their 70s and 80s, their artistic judgments sharpened by a lifetime of lessons learned — and their heightened awareness of mortality a spur to productivity they could not have imagined in youth — they can operate at peak power. Better still, with the “life force” still pulsing, they can go on daring to try new things."
I turned 77 at Christmas time I can only concur, that this is truly one of the best times of my life... artistically and personally!
What a gift to be given this with many art thoughts and projects in my mind, the International Art Textile Biennale opening in January at East Gippsland Art Gallery and a personal exhibition in May, with huge textile works and great health.
I have got so much more to do before I jump off this 'mortal coil'!!
Notes that catch my thoughts, dribbles, splashes, spills, drips, words, and other detritus, as I work my way thru journals and blogs that have kept me occupied during an unusual time in all of our lives...