Time for slow art: new contemporary craft exhibitions prompt a slower pace to appreciate beauty
Address: North Building, 1, 180 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601
Date: 16 May - 6 July 2019
Craft ACT’s newest exhibitions show the infinite value of slowing down to appreciate the handmade and the layered beauty of our environment. From the time-consuming practice of tapestry by some of Australia’s most acclaimed textiles artists, to a contemporary large-scale wood block print installation, these new exhibitions showcase the value and extraordinary beauty of contemporary craft to create layers of meaning through history, connection and time.
In the present-day world, we rely heavily on our smartphones and digital technology to help manage time and to help make our lives easier in a demanding and sometimes stressful environment. We forget to slow down and take time to understand and appreciate our surroundings, relax and be mindful. These beautiful exhibitions remind us of the value of time.
‘Craft is dynamic, enduring, entrepreneurial and respectful of tradition, uniting time-honoured (and often time-consuming) techniques with contemporary interpretations. Our newest exhibitions - Rhizoming: Language of Print and Place and Take Time - are the perfect expression of the best of contemporary craft and the extraordinary investment of time shared by craft practitioners, makers and artists,’ said Rachael Coghlan, CEO and Artistic Director of Craft ACT.
Rhizoming: Language of Print, features the work of established artist and academic Jan Hogan. For this exhibition Hogan has created large-scale woodblock prints which record her relationship with her materials and to her new home in Hinsby Beach (TAS) and its caves, tide pools and waves. Time is at the heart of this large scale but delicate installation: the work depended on an investment of time by the artist, but also requires the viewer to invest in slow looking to appreciate the use of patterns and materials. As opening speaker Anne Brennan observed: ‘The slow investment of time spent with Jan’s work, moving around immersing yourself in the installation, twisting and turning with the ‘artists books’ that are three-dimensional drawings in space, closes the circle between you, the artist, her materials and her site and mirrors the way in which she has slowed down her own time to match the temporal pulse of light, land and water as it acts upon the paper.
Take Time is a group exhibition where ten textiles artists from three generations reflect on the time they spend in their studio developing and producing artworks through the slow and meditative medium of woven tapestry. Each artist reflects on the time they spend in their studio creating these detailed tapestries in a world that is becoming increasingly difficult for craftspeople to focus on their practice.
Guest speaker Anne Brennan urges viewers to invest time to see not only each of the work’s colour, scale and subject matter, but to appreciate the time spent by the artist and how time embeds itself in tapestry: ‘We’ll begin to see the way in which each tapestry is slowly built up, gradually embedding the unhurried process of looking, interpreting, and reimagining our richly material world,’ said Anne.
Although the work created by these artists all explore the same theme, the approaches and visual outcomes are diverse. The exhibition features tapestries, paintings and process materials by Cheryl Thornton, Daniel Edwards, Diana Wood-Conroy, Dimity Kidston, Ema Shin, Patsy Payne, Rachel Hine, Suzanne Knight, Tim Gresham and Valerie Kirk.