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25 July 1997 —
17 August 1997

Kelly Thompson:
Passages and Postcards

Kelly Thompson: Passages and Postcards, 1997 (installation view).
Kelly Thompson: Passages and Postcards, 1997 (installation view).
Kelly Thompson: Passages and Postcards, 1997 (installation view).
Kelly Thompson, Charts, 1997 (installation view).
Kelly Thompson, Charts, 1997 (detail).
Kelly Thompson, Postcard Series Strip 1, (installation view).
Kelly Thompson, Boathouse, 1997.
Kelly Thompson, Postcard Series 1 - XV, (detail).
Kelly Thompson, Postcard Series I - XV, (detail).
Kelly Thompson, Several Worlds, (detail).


Aptly entitled Passages & Postcards, themes of journeys and discovery are the basis for Kelly Thompson’s exhibition that opens at the Fisher Gallery on 25/07/1997. Kelly Thompson is a Dunedin-based artist who weaves. Her exhibition explores journeys by sea and makes references to maps, charts and navigational aids. Like a number of contemporary artists in New Zealand and Australia, she is looking back at our colonial history and questioning what it means to be living in this place and at this time.

The artist started her career with a Certificate of Weaving from Nelson Polytechnic in 1979. After further training in the United States - and teaching at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art - she developed her current techniques and ideas when she undertook a Master of Arts course at the Australian National University Canberra School of Art, graduating in 1994.

The works in Passages & Postcards are very finely woven in cotton and linen using a double-cloth pick-up structure and dyed and painted warp threads. The artist uses a computer-assisted loom that controls the shaft changes for the two sets of warp (lengthwise) threads and creates the structure of the cloth. The images are created through the arrangement of the painted and dyed warp threads. The artist also uses a selective thread pick-up process where she picks up bottom warp threads and pulls them through to the front of the weaving. This technique allows for abrupt changes in texture and colour.

Passages & Postcards is a sophisticated marriage of technique and idea. Like the process of double weaving, history consists of many threads, and is often half hidden and elusive. Kelly Thompson presents fragments and scenes, half glimpsed and hazy, offset with sharply defined navigation and other measuring devices to remind us of how we define time and place. The work also suggests how our interpretations of history and place can change.


Tales of cloth and clay, New Zealand Herald, 1997


Kelly Thompson: Passages & Postcards, 1997, exhibition card
Kelly Thompson: Passages & Postcards, 1997, exhibition card

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