Contemporary New Zealand and Australian fibre art becomes the focus of this important craft exhibition at the Fisher Gallery, Pakuranga from 1 May. The show has been curated by Auckland artist Carole Shepheard for the Fisher Gallery. The artists included are Inga Hunter, Carole Davis, Malcolm Harrison, Jenny Hunt, Suzy Pennington, Adrienne Rewi, Kate Wells and Maureen Lander.
Guest exhibitor, Australian Inga Hunter, and her work have been brought to New Zealand with the assistance of the Craft Dyers Guild of New Zealand. Inga Hunter has been a fibre artist and tutor since 1973. In 1974 she founded the Batik Association of Australia (now known as the Batik and Surface Design Association of Australia). Apart from batik, Hunter also makes and explores the uses of handmade paper. With this her work varies and diversifies as much in its type of subject and its use of material. Craft Australia described her, ‘Hunter cannot be solely linked with batik. She acquires techniques avidly, and with a solid methodology, then makes them work for her to achieve colourful surfaces. While she may still use resist techniques such as wax resist or shibori, she can also choose from among transfer printing, painting dyes, smocking, stitching, beading and making and casting paper, as examples. Her Aquarium series calls these diverse skills into use, as a myriad of underwater forms come to life in fibre and fabric.’ Hunter will be represented by six works from the Robes of the Imperium series. These works show her magnificent ability in the skills of composition and execution of final form. She says of producing her work through the process of making ‘the hard bit... is where the idea doesn't always work, and has to be modified. I am not one of those people who has to draw ideas, I have to use actual materials to develop my ideas properly.’
Hunter is a prolific worker. Apart from producing her artworks she is the author of numerous dye leaflets, craft articles and columns for the Fibre Forum magazine. As a lecturer and workshop tutor she is always in demand to share, demonstrate and instruct her deep understanding
of textile working.
The other exhibitors included in the exhibition display equally their dedication, diversity and individuality of approach to their craft. Carole Davis is best known for her batik work. Formerly working from Auckland, Davis has moved to Sydney where she continues making textile works. Davis began working in embroidery and sewing and then moved into screen printed fabrics. Davis was visited by Hunter when they were both learning about batik and developing the technique of painting with dyes and incorporating wax for new effects.
Malcolm Harrison is preparing a large scale piece to command one wall of the Fisher Gallery. Harrison’s quilts have established him as one of New Zealand’s leading exponents of this craft. Increasing in size and complexity, Harrison also draws on a wide range of sources to develop his motifs. The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt recently purchased ‘The Family’ of dolls.
Jenny Hunt’s wall weavings are now breaking ground as they redefine preconceived notions of fibre art in relation to painting and sculpture. Hunt, who has been working with fibre since the early sixties, recently completed a Fine Arts degree. Her pieces combine the wrapping and binding of forms with the addition of the colouring of their surfaces with paint. These forms are then assembled and arranged on the wall.
Suzy Pennington’s reputation as a textile artist is also rapidly growing. In 1984 she produced a commissioned work for the new Arts and Commerce Building at the University of Auckland. Since then demand for her work has increased. Pennington works slowly. She says of her work ‘I want my work to have a feeling of serenity and calm.’
Adrienne Rewi has had a busy year with an exhibition at the Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui and at the Hastings City Cultural Centre. The work in progress for the Fisher Gallery is a large scale three dimensional installation in cast paper.
Kate Wells is a meticulous worker in tapestry weaving. A graduate from the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design she has also spent time at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne. For her, ‘in tapestry one is free to design expressively (and) one of the aspects of tapestry weaving that excites me is the combination of spontaneity and preciseness.’
This major exhibition of Fibre Art will display the innovation, scale, diversity and progressive development in the fibre arts today.
→ Contemporary fibre art on display, Inner City News-Gazette, 20-04-1988
→ Craft Exhibition Shows Fibre Art, Eastern Courier, 11-05-1988
→ Local displays complement big woolcrafts festival, Howick & Pakuranga Times, 02-05-1988
→ New Directions in Fibre Review, Craft Dyer's Guild, No 25, June 1988
→ New Directions in Fibre, Textile Fibre Forum, No 23, 1988
→ No doubt about high standard, New Zealand Herald, 05-05-1988
→ New Directions in Fibre, 1988, exhibition card