Monday, December 15, 2008

Get your 2009 Town Hall Gallery calendar!

Yes, the new 2009 gallery calendars are here. We have a new A5 format, which has allowed us to provide you the reader with more information on the individual exhibitions in a nice and easy to read format. The larger size means that the images to promote the shows are much easier to see as well!

You will find that the front cover can be removed and opened to give you a calendar for the whole year which you can pop on your fridge or on your desk.

If you are on our mailing list, you will receive your 2009 calendar in the mail shortly. If you're not on the list and would like a copy, email and we'll post one out.

Manipulate: Construct - Sara Lindsay

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With the exhibition Manipulate: Construct in its last week (already!) I thought I should add some more information about the individual artists.

Above is a shot of some of Sara Lindsay's works and her table display. Sara also spoke at our last Slides and Sushi session on Thursday evening and it was great to hear about the themes that she has worked with over her artistic career and what she is working on currently. Sara Lindsay is Studio Manager at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop currently.
This is what Sara had to say about her works:

"In 2004, I commenced a new body of work that examined my family’s relationship with Sri Lanka. My British grandfather managed a tea plantation in the hill country of Ceylon in the 1920’s and 30’s – my mother was born there and returned to England when her father died prematurely in 1937. In 2005, my daughter and I visited Sri Lanka for the first time, shortly after the devastating tsunami.

On my return to Australia I proceeded to develop a body of work, which responded to this visit. Initially I felt an acute sense of fragility. I did not want to make didactic or political work but wanted to represent, through a quiet and contemplative process, the fragility of life. I also became more and more interested in the history of Sri Lanka as a trading nation and how I could extend my repertoire of materials to comment on this exotic but troubled history of trade. It was very interesting for me, given my use of cinnamon, to discover that in the 1600’s the weavers of fine gold cloth who had originally come from Southern India had been banished from the Kingdom of Kandy (the original capital of Ceylon) and sent to the south west coast to become cinnamon peelers – employed by the Portuguese and later the Dutch."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Slides & Sushi tomorrow!

The last Slides & Sushi session will occur on Thursday 11 December from 6-8pm.
This session will look at the current exhibition Manipulate: Construct and will feature a few of the artists exhibiting, talking about their works and tapestry in general.

For more information please contact the curator on 9278 4775 - come and celebrate the exhibition and our last Sushi session!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Manipulate: Construct - Valerie Kirk

a view of Valerie's work installed at Manipulate: Construct.

With the launch of Manipulate: Construct last night at Town Hall Gallery, it was great to have Valerie Kirk travel from Canberra to make it for the opening night. Within the exhibition, there is a combination of emerging artists and more established artists; Valerie represents the established artists in the exhibition. Her work has been exhibited widely in both Australia and overseas and it was lovely to see her work in context with other artist in Melbourne.
About Valerie...
Valerie Kirk studied art and design at Edinburgh College of Art and was captivated by the creative process/infinite possibilities of the tapestry medium. In 1979 she came to Australia to become a weaver at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, then worked in all states of Australia before moving to Canberra in 1991 to be the Head of Textiles at the Australian National University, School of Art. Her work from this time focussed on what it meant to be a Scottish/Australian in this context.

She is considered to be an important international figure in the world of contemporary tapestry. As an artist, writer, teacher and public figure she has made a significant contribution, forging valuable and tangible links with the Scottish tradition and global field. While actively maintaining her practice as an artist, Valerie’s remarkable capacity for achievement has seen her inspire and lead community tapestry projects, research and write a major thesis on tapestry, direct significant textile projects and create major works. She has held several solo exhibitions and presented her work in USA, Europe, Australia, NZ and SE Asia.

Between 2004-2005 she was commissioned to design and weave three major tapestries to celebrate Nobel Prizes in Science associated with the Australian National University. A further tapestry was commissioned and woven in 2006 featuring the work on small pox and myxomatosis of Professor Frank Fenner. The tapestries are installed and on public display at University House, ANU.

Her most outstanding achievement to date is winning the “To Furnish a Future” carpet design competition in 2006. The selected “Crimson Carpet” design draws on the natural patination of stone around Government House, Sydney, combining with a palette of crimson from the tonal range in the Waratah flower. The second stage of the project involved working closely with the consulting design team, the Australian company, “Whitecliffe Imports” and the manufacturers, “Siam Carpets” in Thailand. The hand tufted carpet measures 8m x 20m and was produced in one piece to fit the rooms. The design is significantly different from the normal range of carpet design and at the Energy Australia National Trust Heritage Awards 2008 held on Monday 7 APRIL 2008, the refurbishment of the State Rooms at Government House won one of the major awards - Conservation, Built Heritage for a Project under $1 million.

Awards such as the Australia Council New Work grant and Muse Arts Woman of the Year mark substantial success and her artwork is documented in the Telos Portfolio Collection publication.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Manipulate: Construct - Louise King

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Louise King is a Melbourne based artist. For the Manipulate: Construct exhibition, Louise has prepared two works: one white, one black. This is what she has to say about the inspiration behind these works.

"White on white, black on black is my current palette. I’ve been exploring works in terms of texture, feel, light and shade, reflective qualities, same but different, quiet.

Mourning, loss of cultural identity and symbols are at the core of my work for Manipulate: Construct. Letting a Hundred Flowers Blossom refers to a campaign in the 1950s in China to out dissident thought and opposition to Mao and Communist Party ideology and practice. The idea that a country like China that has such a rich cultural, intellectual and social history could also be so oppressive and restrictive and deny such a great legacy seems misguided. Recent riots in Tibet have highlighted this. My flowers are white, the colour of mourning in China. My flowers express a mourning for the peoples of Tibet and the loss of their cultural heritage and identity and right to self determinism.

Symbols of Another Times expresses another kind of mourning – for China itself and the loss of it’s own cultural traditions. I have woven the symbols for Luck, Peace and Double Happiness. The symbols represent the past, the old way of doing things and being and perhaps a kind of respect and acknowledgement of our connectedness to others and our environment and the idea of actions and thoughts having consequence.

I have woven the symbols in black to again represent mourning, this time in a western context. Black is shadow and according to Jung shadow is projection. I can also mourn the loss of meaning and cultural identity in our society due to the global dominance of American popular culture."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Manipulate: Construct exhibition - Emma Sulzer

Some of the works by Emma Sulzer that feature in Manipulate: Construct exhibition 2008.

Manipulate: Construct starts at Town Hall Gallery this Wednesday 3 December, 2009. It features nine artists who work in woven tapestry as well as other mediums. I am taking the opportunity to allow our blog readers a sneak preview as well as the opportunity to find out a little more from these fascinating artists.
I am totally in love with Emma Sulzer's tapestry trainers! As a weaver myself, I am astounded by her three-dimensional creations, as well as the fact that I am a bit of a sneaker freaker myself and have numerous colour trainers in my closet. I haven't seen anyone else creating three-dimensional structures using tapestry, particulary in a popular culture context, so I think our viewers are definitely in for a treat.
Below, Emma talks a little bit about her background and this body of work:

I am an artist with a background in tapestry and textiles. I am particularly interested in using hand woven tapestry to create soft sculptural forms. My artworks frequently arise from popular culture and consumer society.

Feeling limited by the flat nature of tapestry, I use tapestry as a sculptural medium as an attempt to ‘lift tapestry from the gallery wall’.
In this work I have used tapestry to create three-dimensional sneakers. I made them by making a pattern, as you would do for a dress, either from an existing sneaker or from photographs. I then wove the shapes and stitched them together. I used materials including wool, embroidery thread and metallic thread to reflect the tactile quality of the objects. I have used the organic, hand-made quality of tapestry to contrast the mass produced nature of the objects.
We hope to see you all at the exhibition between 3 and 20 December 2008.