Friday, April 6, 2012

New Exhibition by Ararat-born artist, David Ray

Ararat-born contemporary ceramicist David Ray's new exhibition has just been installed at Ararat Regional Art Gallery. David is presenting a survey of his neo-baroque ceramics which combine humour with a social critique of class and taste. The exhibition includes a mural painted by David in response to the gallery's architecture.

David's exhibition, 'They don't make 'em like that anymore' will be officially opened by artist Stephen Benwell on Saturday 14 April 2012 at 1pm, however, the exhibition has been open to the public since 5 April. David's show continues until 13 May 2012.

Talking Baskets

Artist Liz Williamson and craft writer Dr Kevin Murray

Christina Sumner, Principal Curator, Design and Society, Powerhouse Museum

Ararat Basketfest 2012 culminated in a symposium at the Ararat Performing Arts Centre on Saturday 31 March 2012 featuring a line up of Australia's foremost fibre artists and curators. The symposium provides a chance for people with an interest in contemporary fibre art and basketry to experience a day of lively discussion and networking amongst peers. It was great to welcome so many passionate basketmakers and key influences in Australian craft to Ararat.

The centrepiece of the entire program has been the 30th anniversary presentation of Douglas Fuchs' influential fibre art installation Floating Forest, presented in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. It was therefore appropriate that the symposium began with a consideration of Douglas Fuchs' influence on Australian basketry by Christina Sumner, Principal Curator, Design and Society at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney

Arguably Australia's leading contemporary basketmaker, Virginia Kaiser, was scheduled to speak at the symposium but was unable to attend due to ill health. Virginia was deeply influenced by Douglas Fuchs and her paper was read by her good friend and peer, Wendy Golden. Virginia's 'Memories of Douglas' provided an evocative account of Douglas' visit and of the burgeoning fibre art community of the early 1980s.

The symposium also more broadly explored contemporary fibre art in Australia including the increasingly vital area of Aboriginal basketry. Antoinette Smith, Senior Curator, Indigenous Cultures of Southeastern Australia at Museum Victoria spoke about historic and recent Aboriginal basketry with reference to her museum's collections. In the afternoon, five outstanding artists, Marilyne Nicholls, Maree Brown, Adrienne Kneebone, Bronwyn Razem and Lucy Irvine, spoke about the role of tradition and technique in the creation of contemporary woven forms and shared images of recent work. Kevin Murray written about the symposium on his webpage, Craft Unbound.

The symposium was followed by the official opening of Lucy Irvine’s exhibition, ‘Mapless’ at 5.30pm by Patrick Snelling, Artist and Program Director, Textile Design, School of Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University. Patrick is also the curator of the 1st Tamworth Textile Triennial which features Lucy Irvine's incredible sculpture, 'Continuous Interruptions', which is featured in the triennial's touring exhibition and has recently been acquired by Tamworth Regional Art Gallery. Lucy's exhibition Mapless continues at Ararat Regional Art Gallery until 7 May 2012.