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.
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 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. 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 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.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?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
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