Thursday, January 25, 2007

running with colour & light

Sitting still is a wonderful thing, running around town, being on trains and planes and exploring the world or even your own home town is also a wonderful thing. (Publishing a magazine about things you are passionate about is also quite nice when you realize others are appreciative of your efforts and share your passion) before I go on in my usual eccentric way I will give you a link to the Textile Museum of Canada’s Colour and Light: Embroidery from India and Pakistan and say the opening was great and if you can’t get to Toronto in the next 6 months don’t worry. This time the TMC has but the entire exhibition on line. So pull up a comfortable chair and explore. With zooming capabilities you can see the close up details, stitches and occasionally the warp and weft of the cloth in a way that is not possible in “real life”.

In less then a week I have been to 3 openings in Toronto all of which need more consideration then a mere “they were great” or “interesting” In the past 6 weeks and in two different cities in two different provinces I have seen a number of exhibitions worth writing about, unfortunately the depth and knowledge to write about three of these shows is not with in my experience. I can say you should seen them for yourself ( if you can) but much more needs to be said, catalogues are not always produced and there is a very interesting but not readily accessible new trend of pamphlet publishing, but unless you attend the gallery or museum your not going to accidentally find them.

In the Volume 4 issue 1/winter 2007 of fibreQUARTERLY you will see a few examples of these “Pamphlets”. As I said above my write style is eccentric or perhaps just erratic so now I am switching gears back to the shows I have seen.

After Lynne Heller’severyday” exhibition at the Rebecca Gallery (see pervious posting and use the back Button on your browser to return here

I ran to the MOCCA to see The Invisible Landscape revealing our place in the world November 25, 2006 – January 21, 2007. The show has just ended and thought it wasn’t a textile show I have to say it was an extraordinarily well crafted survey show of Canadian landscape art, with out a standard image or cliché in sight. The group of seven along with their contemporaries where of course present with lesser known and much more experimental works on display.

This exhibition was organized and circulated by the National Gallery it was in Sherbrook and Medicine Hat I hope you where fortunate to see it. If the show will continue traveling or whether or not there was a catalogue or cyber Gallery created I don’t real know if you want more information about it contact Kristin Rothschild: Travelling Exhibitions Manager
Telephone: (613) 993-9997
Fax: (613) 993-3412

The show was breath taking, thought provoking and one of the best exhibitions I have seen in years, which is why I am mentioning it here. Also at the opening I over heard some notables gossiping about the publicity for the show saying “Now” should have covered it, wondering if “Canadian Art” would review it and just who should be responsible for promoting national art and how…blah blah blah.

That is the question “who is responsible?” for keeping a discourse on Canadian Art running and accessible to a larger general interested audience.

Next up was Italian Arts & Design: The 20th Century at the ROM October 28, 2006 to January 7, 2007 Showcasing 300 works, Italian Arts & Design including furniture, glass, textiles, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, photography and more from this remarkable period in design history. As far as I am concerned being able to see a real Fortuny pleated shift [Delphos with over blouse 1910- 1930] with is accompanying devoré and printed velvet jacket was worth the price of admission. Work is displayed by a number of leading 20th century Italian designers including Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Bugatti, Gio Ponti, Pucci, Ettore Sottsass and more.. Many objects have never before been on public display.

The show was produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in co-operation with the Royal Ontario Museum and the Museo Mart (Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto), Rovereto, Italy.

Available for sale in the ROM Museum Store or at is the official exhibition catalogue, Il Modo Italiano: Italian Design and Avant-garde in the 20th Century. By Guy Cogeval (Editor), Giampiero Bosoni (Editor) This publication contains 412 pages and features over 350 colour and 75 black and white photographs.

Later the same day I went to the opening of Cloth that Grow on Trees at the TMC, what can I say “Brilliant, amazing, worth the trip to Toronto.” Actually it really is and again the website is a sufficient alternative but not a replacement for the show. Unlike the entirety of the Colour and Light show being online the curator Max Allen’s essay is available along with six images . After reading Max’s essay why not Google around and find interesting information and remember clothe made of bark is not the same as Bark Cloth [the slightly garish large tropical flower print [see some links below].

Insert image

Next … a plane to Calgary… the C-train to the University of Calgary Campus… the Nickle Museum.

Having recently received a large gift from Dr. Lloyd Erikson The Jean and Marie Erikson Rug Collection became the source for the exhibition Made in Afghanistan: Rugs and Resistance 1979-2005 February 25 - September 1, 2006. This exhibition was co-curated by Michelle Hardy and Robert Fyke. There will be more information about this show in the Spring/ Western Issue of fQ. You can read an article about the exhibit published in Fast Forward, Calgary’s weekly entertainment paper... . Unfortunately I missed that show since it was now Christmas time, I did how ever get to see the two current exhibitions.

Ancient Peru Unearthed: Golden Treasures of a Lost Civilization September 28, 2006 - January 14, 2007 [this show is coming to the ROM in Toronto Opening March 10, 2007]

Collecting China: Beyond the Curio Cabinet

December 10, 2005 - Continuing

Collecting China explores the motifs and symbols that characterize Chinese material culture, examining their persistence and variation. It identifies key visual symbols, notes how they were interpreted in various mediums and affected by foreign markets.

Includes samples drawn from The Nickle's collections of sculpture, carpets, coins and ceramic as well as private textile and numismatic collections

More on this exhibition

Other Alberta fibre arts news/ information:

There is an exhibition coming in the spring called All About Alberta organized by the Alberta Craft Council that was exhibited at the Canadian Embassy Art Gallery in Washington DC last summer [June 16 – September 15 2006] featuring the fallowing fibre artist: Ilse Anysas-Salkauskas, from Cochran, Anna Hergert, Calgary, Sharon McFall, Hastings Lake, Liv Pedersen, Calgary Dana Roman, Canmore. There are reviews of the show on the Craft Council’s web site as well as links to 6 of the 62 textile and fibre artist listed.

I rounded off my trip with a visit to the Alberta College of Art and Design’s Fibre department just before classes stared again. Had a tour with department head Jane Kidd and some of the staff members met up with artist/writer/ web curator Mackenzie Frère. His poplar artcraft online gallery was introduced in a post last month, it is currently featuring the work of Amanda Byers and he is looking for submission for future exhibitions and art writing. He has taken on coordinating a western issue for fibreQUARTERLY due out in the late spring.

Water Cloth by Mackenzie Frère hand woven panel of silk & linen. weft is ikat dyed with pine cones. ikat pattern is a variation of traditional water pattern

On the run again… back to Toronto and this past week ....I arrived early for the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition: Award Winners 2006 at FCP Gallery and so did David Hind 2006 recipient of the Best of Show Award, so I gave him a tour of the tapestries hanging in the lobby of the First Canadian Place. Starting with Tamara Jaworska: Quartet Modern, 1975 tapestries in the Kings street main lobby followed by Infinity by Sofia Dlugopolska (west side of lobby past elevator column) and finishing with an Untilled tapestry By Maria Ciechomska on the east side, closest to the FCP Gallery [ there will be a cyber fibre tour of downtown Toronto featuring these and 12 other textile pieces]

Tamara Jaworska: Quartet Modern, 1975 tapestries

The exhibition itself was a way of seeing the work of these participants of last years Outdoor Show in a formal gallery setting with white walls and top lighting. Oddly enough being removed from the circus like/ flea market atmosphere of the Outdoor show didn’t alter the appreciation of the quality and skill level of these artists it just gets rid of the heat and the crowd. In terms of textiles and fibre category winners as judged by Allison Mitchell the Fibre Award - Best Of Medium, went to Andrea Vander Kooij sponsored by Brookfield Properties Corporation, and the Honourable Mention went to Kate Jackson sponsored by David Kaye Gallery. These however weren’t the only textile based winners the Sculpture Awards Best Of Category went to Sarah Reynolds for “soft” Ugly Bunny creatures judged by Lee Goreas and in Jewelry the embroidery settings by Suzanne Carlsen were given Honourable Mention by judge by Van McKenzie.

The next night it’s down to Harbourfront Centre for the opening of the winter shows in the various exhibition Vitrines, and the main gallery. Yes Andréa Vander Kooij did make a velvet fire extinguisher, actually she recreated an entire interior fire safety case complete with hose, tap and extinguisher and it installed beside a real one. (I am waiting for a photo which I will post as soon as I get it. The rest is up to you and possibly me to explore at a later date….

Links to galleries mentioned in this site

Textile museum of Canada


National Gallery

Royal Ontario Museum

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Museo Mart (Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto


Calgary sites:

Nickel Arts Museum

Ancient Peru Unearthed Exhibition site Ancient Peru Unearthed

All About Alberta

Alberta Craft Council

Alberta College of art and design


Mary Holdgrafer, Edmonton, Fibre

Andrea Wilson, Woodstock, Fibre

Donna Clement, Calgary, Fibre & Mixed

FAN [fibre art network

Italian designers



Real cloth made from Bark


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