Artists illustrate the extraordinary power of transformation: new exhibitions

The extraordinary power of transformation – of materials, pattern, artistic practice and culture – is at the heart of three new exhibitions at Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, opened by Brian Parkes (CEO, JamFactory) on 11 July 2019.

Artists’ engagement with change, both radical and subtle, is seen throughout the exhibitions. The visual manipulation of form and perspective combines manual craft practice with digital fabrication in exciting new sculptural work by designer-maker Gilbert Riedelbauch. Al Munro’s distortion of mathematical patterns on textiles and paintings reveal beautiful but at times unexpected aberrations and slippages in colourful geometry. The changing nature of materiality in Japanese object-making culture is central to a group exhibition featuring some of the most acclaimed names in contemporary design.

‘One of the most exciting aspects of contemporary craft and design is its captivating and contradictory power: it is both dynamic and enduring, entrepreneurial and respectful of tradition, uniting time-honoured techniques with contemporary interpretations built for the future. Works featured in our new exhibitions illustrate the power of art, craft and design to inspire and to change the way we see and understand. These are exhibitions not to be missed,’ said Rachael Coghlan, CEO and Artistic Director of Craft ACT.

Shifts in Japanese Materiality features work by leading Australian and Japanese designers and artists – including Guy Keulemans, Julie Bartholomew and Kyoko Hashimoto - who explore contemporary design practice and the changing nature of materiality in Japanese object-making. From lacquerware and ceramics through to jewellery, the works explore the changing creative practices and material landscape born out of cross-cultural dialogue and transnational influences. Curator and artist Bic Tieu has selected diverse works to explore a contemporary narrative of Japanese materiality from traditional clay and lacquer to consumer waste: PET bottles have been transformed into floral forms; kintsugi (a traditional repair technique used in Japanese ceramics) is used to articulate notions about repair and environmental concerns.

Pattern Translation presents a new body of work by Canberra-based artist Al Munro which examines translated and distorted mathematical patterns on paintings and dresses created from digitally printed fabrics. Al is known for her colourful sculptural and 2D work in textiles, print and painting which reinterpret the relationship between textiles structures and mathematics. In Pattern Translation Al has explored how aberrations and slippages can occur as a pattern, like a spoken message, and are then translated from one ‘language’ to another. Textile patterns have been translated into painted forms then manipulated through the process of repeat fabric design, creating a relationship between the two-dimensional paintings and the three-dimensional outfits.

Form Follows Fold is a solo exhibition of an exciting new direction by Canberra-based contemporary designer and maker Gilbert Riedelbauch, whose acclaimed work is held in the National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. Gilbert’s new sculptural works combine manual craft practice with digital fabrication to explore geometry and symbols. He has created a series of boldly coloured and strikingly graphic wall pieces. Playful exploration plays a key role in this exhibition through his use of repeating elements that have been displayed in varying ways that create a sense of endless geometric possibilities.

FLOOR TALKS:                   

Thursday 11 July, 5.30pm with a selection of the artists from Shifts in Japanese Materiality

Friday 2 August, 12pm with Al Munro from Pattern Translation

Thursday 15 August, 1.00pm with Gilbert Riedelbauch from Form Follows Fold