craft / “Take Time”, Cract ACT Craft + Design Centre, until July 6. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE
TAPESTRY weaving and speed are mutually exclusive concepts. The artists who weave the tapestries take a great deal of time to create them, which is why I think viewers should also take their time when looking at the work in the exhibition titled “Take Time”.
Anne Brennan has written a short essay for this exhibition, which encourages viewers to “look”, rather than just “see” the works of art in this exhibition. She reminds the audience that several major galleries around the world have introduced “slow art days”, which are days that ask viewers to “slow down” and take their time when looking at artworks.
Tapestry weaving is an art that dates from the Middle Ages but is constantly developing with contemporary artists updating techniques and exploring different yarns and materials. Many tapestry weavers collaborate with painters, for example at the Australian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne.
In “Take Time”, 10 artists were invited to contribute and most work in more than one art form.
Rachel Hine is playing with the images she saw in the “Lady and the Unicorn” series, which was at the Art Gallery of New South Wales last year. In the process Hine depicts young boys and men, in hand knitted jumpers. Her narrative is around the complex role of textiles in everyone’s lives.
Time and rhythm are important in most tapestry weaving, both being more important as the size of the work increases. Tim Gresham’s work reflects his interest with light and colour and pattern. Valerie Kirk, previously Head of Textiles at the ANU School of Art and Design, is showing a woven fossil, an image she has been working with for several years. Diana Wood Conroy is also an archaeologist and has worked with the mosaics of ancient Cyprus and Greece for many years. The surface of the tapestry, depicti
ng her drawing of a Soli earth archives, is animated by the judicious use of metallic yarn.
Cheryl Thornton, from Melbourne, has worked on more than 50 large tapestries at the Australian Tapestry Workshop and is showing six miniature tapestries that investigate the significance of the number nine. These seemingly simple works are small gems.
Other exhibitors are Dimity Kidston, Ema Shin, Daniel Edwards, Patsy Payne previously head of Print and Drawing at the ANU SOFA – and Suzanne Knight.
I encourage viewers to spend time really looking at the works in this important exhibition.