|2007 a year in textiles||| Print ||
Dale Roberts knotted, woven, crocheted, strung or twined from multiple fibres and textiles, and often incorporate scavenged cloth and found objects from Neptune's Children exhibiton at Jeffrey Boone Gallery. Vancouver
In 2007 there were approximately forty textile art exhibitions in twenty four museums, public and commercial galleries and alternative exhibition spaces across Canada. These included solo and group shows of contemporary textile artist along with presentations of historic textiles, rugs, clothing and house hold objects. The Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto presented four historic exhibitions featuring pieces from their permanent collection. The Blues exhibition at the TMC included the work of six contemporary artists along with pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, while the Hungry Purse installation is the work of Allison Mitchell. FibreEssence in Vancouver, representing 15 fibre artists, presented 8 exhibitions of various configurations. The lobby gallery space at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles and Gallerie Diagonale in Montreal presented the work of 40 artists between January and December in a series of exhibitions, installations and performances. These four venues are Textile exhibitions spaces and represent at least half the work on display this past year.
these pieces are from Connective Tissue/ Tissu conjonctif curated by j Penny Burton.
The positioning of these exhibits as contemporary conceptual or decorative art, one of a kind fine craft or craft production tends to be as much about the location of exhibition and the agenda of the organiser/curator rather then the actual work itself. Given these variables the approach to promotional media is also mixed, as is the response of the media in its coverage of textile/ fibre work. Is it home fashion, or decoration, is it “Art” wearable or something to hang on the wall. The process of organizing, financing and promoting these exhibitions is tied into ambition, credibility and resources. Sometimes it is feasible to produce a catalogue to accompany an exhibition, while in other cases it is standard practice.. Either way, catalogues are unfortunately rare. In 2007 the MSVU Gallery produced a catalogue for Fran Dorsey’s Saigon, and the Dalhousie Art Gallery in collaboration with the Textile Museum of Canada produced a catalogue for “Close to You”. The latter is the exhibition that TMC curator Sarah Quinton organized during the NeoCraft conference in Halifax; it will be remounted at the TMC in Toronto in June 2008. The Musée des maĭters et Artisans du Québec and Cahiers métiers d'art * Craft Journal produced a catalogue for Connective Tissue/ Tissu conjonctif curated by j Penny Burton.
Kazak rug featuring botehs from the Caucasus (circa 1880). The Jean and Marie Erikson Collection
The Nickel Art Museum at the University of Calgary produced a publication to accompany “Pattern Pleasure: introducing the Jean and Marie Erikson Collection.” It is an 80 page full colour 8.5 by 11 inch high quality book object telling the story of both the collectors and the collection which is housed at the Nickel and came with an endowment to hire a curator to research the collection and mount this exhibition. In the same museum, “Made in Afghanistan: rugs and resistance 1979-2005” was presented from February through May in 2006. This exhibit was co-curated by Michelle Harvey and rug collector Robert Fyke. Although only one rug from the Erikson collection was included, 24 additional rugs were loaned for the exhibition from private collectors. These included Robert Fyfe and TMC co-founded Max Allen. Continuing this theme, “Battle Ground: Afghanistan War Rugs”, exploring the theme of “catastrophe turned into art” will be mounted from April 2008 to January 2009 at the Textile Museum with Max Allen as curator.
These are the type of exhibitions that may seem to be for exclusive/ specific audiences. However, looked at along with the other historic exhibitions and in the context of contemporary shows, it can be seen that provide the background from which contemporary practice has developed. Having the opportunity to see these exhibitions is, of course, the most desirable outcome, while being able to see and read a catalogue is another. Reading a review of these exhibitions is less satisfying, and yet having no accessible documentation or informed opinion leaves these events in a un-negotiable space. Some of these exhibitions were reviewed in local media, Calgary’s ‘fastforward” published reviews by Janelle Dubeau of Hazel Meyers “Hound's Tooth, Forsooth!” at truck gallery and “Common Thread “ exhibition at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery at the Alberta College of Art and Design, Some shows were reviewed in international textile publications: the Blues was covered in Selvedge from England. Some were covered in the pages of fibreQUARTERLY. Coverage in the main stream press is spotty at best, in the arts and entertainment press it is limited and the Arts press coverage of textile based work is a rare occurrence.
Bob Verschueren: Instaltion of a sprial of Flax stems in Saint-Joseph Church, in the Vieux Presbytère (Old Presbytery) in Deschambault-Grondines. nstallation V/07 200 Photo by David Vachon
Critical examination of contemporary textile work is happening in different outposts of the academic world and does make appearances occasionally. In 2007 at Craft Conferences in Scotland http://www.newcraftfuturevoices.com/ and Canada http://www.neocraft.ca/ , textile papers were present. The American Textile Society presents a biannual symposium, in 2006 it happen in Toronto, this year it is happening in Hawaii. The publication of papers presented at these events adds to the growing conversation. Accessing this material and having the opportunity to read, digest, “unpack” and discuss it is a matter of personal inclination. The impulse to write about what you have seen should not be resisted. Unfortunately placing it somewhere is another question. fibreQUARTERLY is a venue for textile and fibre arts writing as well as a centralized clearing house for promotional exhibition information. Seeing that less then a fifth of the exhibitions mounted in 2007 received reviews or other kinds of coverage, I am hoping there will be more writing this year and that we can publish some of it.
1. Neptune's Children by Dale Roberts image provided by Dale Roberts
2. Ashley Miller’s “Tail Wind” which consist of long strands of horse tail hair sewn in a continuing curving line that snakes itself across the 158.5 X 81 cm 932" x 60")
3 Objet rituel perlé, 19e siècle Beaded ritual object , / 19th century Peau de chevreuil, crin, verre, tendon, coton / Deer skin, hair, glass, tendon, cotton 42.5 x 9.7 cm MMAQ, 1982.8
Images provided by the MMAQ and used with permission
4.Kazak rug featuring botehs from the Caucasus (circa 1880).
The Jean and Marie Erikson Collection Photographer Luke Powell
5..Bob Verschueren: Instaltion of a sprial of Flax stems in Saint-Joseph Church, in the Vieux Presbytère (Old Presbytery) in Deschambault-Grondines. nstallation V/07 200 Photo by David Vachon
If you click on this hyperlink it will open a 10 page PDF on a new page. It is a chart listing the Textile and other related exhibitions that took place in 2007. It also includes a list of Catalogues other publications dealing with Textiles and Craft practices in Canada