Strong display of local textile art

Keiko Amenomori Schmeisser’s works are . Photo: Rob Little.

Craft / “Connection Point – established contemporary fiber textile artists from ACT and NSW” at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

The WORKS in this exhibition are drawn from ACT-based artists, including those represented in the Canberra museum and gallery collection, and NSW-based artists.

In Canberra we have many top Australian artists working in textiles, thanks in part to the textile studio at ANU School of Art and Design.

Keiko Amenomori Schmeisser is a leading artist working in shibori – she is also an expert in indigo dyeing. Amenomori’s cultural roots are in Japan, and she draws inspiration from that in her work. Two magnificent panels testify to his skill and knowledge. “Nightfall” is a shibori work, in indigo dye on linen. While it is flat, Amenomori has manipulated the shibori, so that it looks like a kimono, hanging on the wall. It is a great work that fits well with an equally important work, “Rising Gold”. This work has a rich golden surface, with the two lower corners joined at the base. It is stunning work.

An exceptional work from the CMAG collection is that of the late Dorothée Herel with Paula Pratt. The end Gaynor Cardew made of molded paper – probably from banana – silk and linen which Herel fashions into two garments made for a dance performance. Both of these works are reminiscent of traditional Japanese costumes, with blocky sleeves and panels. They are beautifully designed and manufactured.

Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello features two hot-blown, kiln-formed glass works bound with sedge reed raffia. It is a fascinating combination of glass and fiber.

NSW artists form a group called Untethered Fiber Artists Inc. A group exhibition held in 2022/22 traveled to NSW and several works are included in this current exhibition.

Desdemona Foster, “Night Ritual”.

Desdemona Foster exhibits “Nightly Ritual”, a work in free suspension. We are told that the work documents a signature of time, place, state, feeling and evidence. The work is primarily black and white hand sewn, stitched together digital print squares. Small red dots highlight two intersecting rows of large crosses that cross this enigmatic work. I found the image fragments on the squares disturbing and perhaps this feeling is heightened by the lack of color.

On the other hand, Cathie Griffith presents a work entitled “Bowerbird for Red”, made of recycled fabric, found objects, gimp, wire and thread. A self-proclaimed hoop bird, Griffith uses dot and paint to bring disparate materials together in an organic way. Many artists collect found objects for their work, and this direct connection to the bird bird seen in the bush reminds us all that most artists have deep concerns for the environment.

It’s a big show. Great works have come out of the collection, and it is a pleasure to see them. It also shows how strong ACT-based textile art is.

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Ian Meikle, editor

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