This exhibition takes the idea of lace and plays with it. It looks forward, much more than it draws on past traditions. I like the way the curator describes the idea behind the display:
'Lace offers the mystery of concealment and the subtle interplay of space, light and shadows'.
Even though lace is usually associated with textiles, this exhibition broadened the definition to include
'any openwork structure whose pattern of spaces is as important as the solid areas’.As result, the exhibition includes ceramics, glass, wood, found materials, video and images, paper, jewellery - all kinds of media in addition to the expected textiles.
Despite the diversity and innovation I was still most engaged by the fabrics in the exhibition. These are some of my favourites:
Below is a detail from a grouping of maybe a dozen ceiling to floor hangings in a mixture of tapa (bark) cloth, interlining, cotton gauze and thread. The artist, Andrea Eimke, who now lives in the Cook Islands but originally came from Germany, seems to me to combine successfully two very strong traditions of weaving, applique and stitching.
I found this work - a ghostly grouping of six dresses and bonnets - very moving. The Canadian artist, Noelle Hamlyn, calls it 'Ceremony' and it evokes for me the importance of rituals associated with birth and childhood. The work has been constructed from stitched and embroidered Japanese gampi tissue paper and so has an appropriate delicacy and transience.
My favourite piece in the exhibition was a series of hanging panels of layered fabric with dyeing and stitching and patterning by Australian artist Janie Matthews. The gradations of colour and intricacy of the fabric design resulted in great richness. Meandering lines of stitching travelled across the panels, linking them. Most appropriately, its title was 'Memory Maps'.
There were some beautiful paper works. This laser-cut work from paper was by Tomy Ka Chun Leung, a student at UTS, the university where I work. These pieces are simultaneously simple in overall shape, but with a busy detailed pattern. This is a wonderful example of the 'interplay of space, light and shadows', as intended by the exhibition.
The exhibition and its works have a well-curated website if you're interested in seeing more of the works. Better still, visit if you can.