Pliable Planes: Expanded Textiles & Fibre Practices

Fri 29th April, 2022 – Sun 17th July, 2022
UNSW Galleries
Cnr of Oxford Street and Greens Road, Paddington
Price: Free
Twelve Australian artists working with textiles show that so-called “soft” art practices can defy expectations.

Throughout art history, textile artists have come up against negative stereotypes about their work compared with other mediums. It’s particularly noticeable for female artists who work with textiles or fibres, which has been considered a “soft” art practice – something not taken too seriously by the broader art world.

Challenging that notion are 12 Australian artists who are showcasing their work in response to what people think textile art is, or what it’s capable of. Sydney artist Sarah Contos has sculptural crocheted and woven forms cast in aluminium that hang in a punk-style macramé form. Whereas Kate Scardifield took an 80-square-metre neon sail cloth to the NSW South Coast to film a video work that’s partly about the push and pull of the wind against her body and partly inspired by her experience as a sailor using semaphore to communicate.

The exhibition includes new commissions as well as recent works by Akira Akira, Lucia Dohrmann, Mikala Dwyer, Janet Fieldhouse, Teelah George, Paul Knight, Anne-Marie May, John Nixon, Jacqueline Stojanovic and Katie West. Its title comes from a 1957 essay by Bauhaus artist Anni Albers who positioned weaving through the lens of architecture. It’s one where you’ll find textiles at the heart of the exhibition, but the works themselves span painting, sculpture, video, sound, installation and more.