Sunday, July 4, 2010

Virginia Kaiser's 'Outback Stories'

Virginia Kaiser, 'Shapes in the Landscape' 2010, Bulrushes & dyed rattan core x 4, muehlenbeckia & dyed rattan core x 1, Photo: Boris Hlavica

Participants in Virginia's two day workshop

Kaiser is an artist who employs a wide range of weaving techniques and natural fibre materials in her sculptures and baskets. Her current exhibition 'Outback Stories' is deeply informed by the landscape around Broken Hill where she presently lives.
Her exhibition is presented at Ararat Regional Art Gallery until 8 August.

life and work has been closely tied to the development of the craft movement in Australia and the practice of basketry in particular. She is widely recognised as a leader in contemporary Australian fibre art as an exhibiting artist, curator and mentor.
'Outback Stories’ is dedicated to some of the key influences in Virginia’s life, including South Australian basketry pioneer Jean Lange and American fibre artist Douglas Fuchs, who influenced the character of Australian basketry so profoundly during his Australian residency in the early 1980s. During her visit to Ararat, Virginia had a chance to see some of the fibre artworks in Ararat Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection, including objects from Jean Lange, Douglas Fuchs, and many Australian basketmakers.

The launch of Virginia’s exhibition last Friday 2nd July 2010 began with an artist’s talk in the afternoon where
she spoke about the development of contemporary Australian basketry. Following her talk, Virginia’s exhibition was officially opened by special guest Lindy Allen, Senior Curator, Anthropology (Northern Australia), Museum Victoria. Lindy spoke about Virginia’s influence on Australian fibre art and about the unique position that basketry holds as a means for dialogue between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

exhibition opening was attended by many people with an interest in contemporary fibre art, including practicing basketmakers who travelled to Ararat from Melbourne, Sydney, and Regional Victoria and South Australia for the opening.
A contingent of visitors also attended a weekend workshop presented by Virginia at the Allanvale Homestead’s Shearers Quarters, between Ararat and Great Western. Participants were thrilled to have completed several baskets during the workshop, as part of their introduction to this ancient craft.