Working in the medium of tapestry affords me the pleasure of making, spending hours in the process of forging skill, discipline and imagination into my primary means of expression.
I have always been fascinated by the connection between tapestry and landscape in an interpretative sense. In 2003 and 2004 I was privileged to be awarded two residencies at Bundanon, the Shoalhaven property of pristine river and bushland, where Arthur Boyd lived and painted in his later years and inspirationally left as a legacy to Australian artists and the Australian people. Responding to the openness, vividness of colour and sheer beauty of the surrounding bush, I started to work ‘en plein air’ with a small frame propped on my knees, weaving the scene before me directly onto the warp without any preparatory sketches. This is a very immediate way of working in tapestry - normally a very painstaking process - with aesthetic decisions being made constantly with the changing patterns of sunlight and passing clouds. The endless choices gave an exciting fluidity to the exercise, imbuing the pieces with a fresh vitality in their reflection of light, colour and atmosphere.
Through this way of working I am able to see and experience much more information than any mediated source - sketch, study or photograph - can divulge, giving the pieces an energetic authenticity of vision. As far as I know, this technique has not been adopted by other weavers.
Employing an approach to the colour mixing similar to that of Impressionist painters, I exploit light across the surface of the work by dividing shapes into patterns made up of flecks of mixed thread, whilst simultaneously creating a compositional whole. However, whilst weaving shares with painting the most important design elements of colour, line, tone and shape, tapestry gives the added bonus of texture and complete colour saturation as the weave absorbs rather than reflects light.
In the last ten years I have pursued this practice in other parts of Australia, France and also Sri Lanka - the country of my birth. I have also woven a series in the remaining bushland at Box Hill - where I live - as a re-engagement with the Australian Impressionists’ artist camps.
The tapestries and the way of working have become a re-visioning of landscape, including those perceived by painters who have entered the pantheon of art history. Taking their cue, I am re-making an established aesthetic in woven form. The miniature format invites an intense precision of observation and interpretation, an economy of perception that questions the relevance of heightened scale in producing a coherent work of art. Returning regularly to this way of working, I feel, enriches the visual repertoire of all my other work, much as life drawing enriches the capacity to see and produce work in any other medium.
Whilst components of this practice have been previously exhibited in part, they have never been seen together, or drawn upon to generate a curated exhibition that explores their unique qualities. The accompanying catalogue includes selected entries from extensive diaries that I have kept during these experiences, in conscious effort to pin down place, atmosphere and process.
These works allow you, the viewing audience, to engage intimately with both the artwork and its method of production, and, I hope, bring pleasure and a sense of what it might feel like to inhabit my ‘Woven Worlds’.
Catalogue available: Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring at Gardiner's Creek, Box Hill, 2007, 12.75 x 22.75 cm Bank and Clearing, Gardiner's Creek, Box Hill, 2008, 12.75 x 22.75 cm
The Bridge, Gardiner's Creek, Box Hill, 2008, 12.75 x 22.75 cm Garden, Weligama, Sri Lanka, 2011, 11.5 x 18.5 cm
Narooma Inlet, 2008, 9 x 18 cm Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka, 2011, 10.5 x 19 cm
Lancefield, 2012, 9.5 x 20 cm Brief garden, 2013, 11 x 20 cm
Above - Left to Right;
Bundanon Glimpse with Pulpit Rock, 2006, 15x4.5 cm
Bundanon Glimpse, 2006, 15x4.5 cm
Singleman's Hut, 2003, 35x14 cm
Amphitheatre, 2005, 30x11 cm
Above - Left to Right;
TarraWarra Window 1, 2011, 45 x 12 cm
TarraWarra Window 2, 2011, 45 x 12 cm
En France II, 2013, 22 x 8 cm
En France, 2011, 8 x 20.5 cm
All works are woven tapestry.