Façade – ATASDA Exhibition
The NSW branch of the Australian Textile Arts & Surface Design Association recently presented its bi-annual exhibition at the Palm House in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. (Links: ATASDA, and NSW blog FibreTribe).
The theme was Façade and I was impressed by individual works and the exhibition as a whole.
Gloria Muddle took ideas from building sites in responding to “façade”. A variety of materials and techniques were used in this hanging triptych. I like the strong rhythms created with repeated geometric forms.
Claire Brach developed an architectural motif, apartment blocks under construction, to consider the networks between apparent strangers in society. We often focus on our individuality, overlooking our close links, our interdependence on those around us.
Claire use paint, pencil and stitch on paper, and it was interesting to see a new mix ideas, materials and techniques emerging following her OCA work. (More on Claire’s blog, including tactualtextiles.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/project-lines-connections-stage-3/).
Nancy Conboy shared a difficult personal story, a loved relative who presented a beautiful, controlled persona, hiding ill-health and solitude. The layering of this wearable art reflected the layering of the individual, elegant clothes covering the fragile person. Nancy used a wide range of textile techniques, beautiful construction, thoughtful choice of materials and colours, to represent, celebrate and mourn.
While maintaining connections and sharing our difficulties with those close to us, there is often still the need to maintain a composed, deflecting persona in professional and social situations. The façade protects our vulnerabilities at such times.
This hanging was skillfully felted wool and silk, with machine and hand embroidery, beads and gems. I like the use of scale, pattern and line. There can be no doubting the sorrow and anxiety in the face and stance of the woman depicted, but from a distance the colours and exuberant flow of her dress dominate.
Kelcie Bryant-Duguid took a political stance, highlighting the deceptive façade of government – in this case penalties, fines and jail, on peaceful protest against mining operations. Whose interests are being protected with these laws?
Kelcie references the “established history of feminist activism using thread as ink” – particularly interesting to me given last week’s musing on text in art (22-May-2016)
The dress is striking, direct, purposeful. This is a protest banner with the person fully involved.
Another thing I didn’t appreciate at the time was that the object displayed is a cover – a façade. Inside is a milky white glass vase, revealed in the surface design of holes. I really enjoy this literal response to the theme of the exhibition, especially given that literalness is obscured by the beauty of the mask/disguise.
Overall I thought this one of the most successful ATASDA exhibitions I have seen. There was a good mix of traditional materials and techniques with strong moves into mixed media and more conceptual work. There is clear depth of talent, skill, ambition and creativity among ATASDA members. My only hesitation is that all of the works were domestic in scale – suitable for the venue, in fact the exhibition felt crowded, but it would be good to see what could be done with more space.