T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions in Wollongong

Sculptural Felt International: we felt like Crossing borders…
At Wollongong Art Gallery until late November, this travelling exhibition goes beyond traditional technical boundaries to include wet, needle and industrial felt, often combined with other media and techniques. Twelve artists are included, and a particular pleasure is that multiple works by each are shown, allowing the viewer a clearer appreciation of the explorations and interests of each artist.

Chung-Im Kim - exhibition view

Chung-Im Kim – exhibition view

Seven pieces by Chung-Im Kim are displayed along one wall. Dated from 2009 to 2014, these demonstrate an on-going exploration of the artist’s chosen medium and techniques. Chung-Im Kim has cut pieces of industrial felt, then hand-stitched them to create a new whole. A number of the works have been dyed in whole or part, others have been screen-printed. The breaks in pattern and the shadows, lines and dimension produced by this process, combine harmoniously.
Chung-Im Kim Tumsae

Chung-Im Kim

Chung-Im Kim detail

Chung-Im Kim

I found Tumsae particularly effective, the glow of the Lac natural dye and the movement of the loose hanging threads creating interest without disguising the stitched texture. I felt the complex screen printing of some other works competed with the lines and shadows of the stitching.

Rebecca Howdeshell detail

Rebecca Howdeshell

Rebecca Howdeshell Geomorphology 2

Rebecca Howdeshell
Geomorphology 2

Rebecca Howdeshell also uses industrial felt, and in the example shown small areas of paper. The felt is machine stitched with varying density, producing a trapunto-life effect. There was a touch of colour in the paper on two small works (unfortunately my photographs are badly blurred), but most of the work is a plain cream, putting all the attention on the lines and areas of stitch. In her artist statement Howdeshell explains that her study begins with drawings which are developed into patterns. This may have been clearer in some of her other works – I chose this example because of the use of space and the varying densities of work including quite large areas untouched. The inclusion of paper is also interesting, adding an extra texture and helping to guide the eye around the work.

Jantine Koppert The Essentials I & II

Jantine Koppert
The Essentials I & II

This large work by Jantine Koppert dominated one end of the gallery space. The intense colours, dynamic lines, large scale and overall energy and vitality command attention. The linear ridges of the stitching and the crumpling effect catch the light and create still more interest. It really does look like a penciled line in space.

Anita Larkin Cradle

Anita Larkin

Anita Larkin was well represented by a range of her quirky, clever, beautifully crafted sculptures. Unfortunately I missed her artist floor talk by minutes. Larkin is a sculptor who treats fibres in her felt-making as a modeling material. She mixes her felt with a diverse range of found objects, and she mixes techniques as well, joining by stitch or screw as needed by the work, whether metal or fibre.

I was able to hear the final few comments in question time, when Larkin explained that her work always starts with the idea, the message, and she approaches her materials as a sculptor, selecting the materials and techniques that best serve her need.

Kitty Korver Large wall object No 7

Kitty Korver
Large wall object No 7

Kitty Korver detail

Kitty Korver

Techniques used in this work by Kitty Korver are described in the catalogue as “wetfelting, carving and needlefelting”. The precision is just amazing. Highly refined felt, incredible crisp carving (apparently using scalpels), absolutely no apparent mixing of the two colours of fibre. In this work that small blue dot on the left fascinated me. It brings the whole composition to life – something a little unexpected, a little different in that controlled, perfect world.

The felt has been molded and stiffened into a bowl shape, and behind is a wooden support or “foot ring”. This is a reference to Korver’s past work in ceramics. I felt a personal resonance in this – how will my past work as a weaver appear in my future?

Meri Ishida Pappagallo neclace and earrings

Meiri Ishida
Pappagallo neclace and earrings

This work by Meiri Ishida actually has a direct link to my current project work. She treats her felt material with resin to harden it without altering weight or shape. A number of the artists had provided small “touch” samples, and Meiri Ishida’s treated felt was firm to the touch with no visual sign of the treatment. I’ve included a small sample of felt in my latest session with resin (still curing), but suspect I used too much and the resin will be apparent.

Karen Richards Flora non Evidens

Karen Richards Flora non Evidens

Karen Richards
Flora non Evidens

Also at the Wollongong Art Gallery was Karen Richards’ installation Flora non Evidens. This was in a darkened room, with headlamps provided for use by visitors. The display was machine embroidered in reflective thread, sometimes cut out in shapes, sometimes supported on falling lengths of black tulle. It was a little like walking into a cave of phosphorescent fungi. The elusive quality of endangered plants is reflected in the uncertain light of the torches, their fragile existence in the fragility of the lace.

Presentation of work, ways of engaging with the viewer, has been of growing interest to me. Richards’ work really engaged and involved the viewer. It became an entire, enveloping experience. Another innovative presentation I’ve seen in the past was The Weeping Dress, a performance and installation by Martha McDonald in Sensorial Loop, the 1st Tamworth Textile Triennial exhibition. I didn’t see the actual performance, but the remains of the dress worn and a video loop. More information is at marthalmcdonald.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-weeping-dress.html. In the 2nd Tamworth Triennial, Group Exchange, Anita Larkin’s felted piece was displayed on the wall, and also played in performances by the Australia Piano Quartet – see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwXrJW8jX3c&feature=youtu.be. I’d like to collect more examples.

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions in Wollongong
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Exhibitions in Wollongong

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September 2015

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