Textiles & Fibre Art: Ararat Regional Art Gallery
Textiles & Fibre Art: Ararat Regional Art Gallery

Ararat Regional Art Gallery was established
in 1968 by the Ararat community. And it was operated by the community until
2005, when Ararat Rural City Council took over the running of the Gallery. We’re one of the few municipalities that’s
blessed to have a regional art gallery. And it adds to our diversity, and cultural
diversity. It adds to the offer that we have that makes
us a little bit different to other small rural municipalities. One of the most exciting things about the
Ararat Regional Art Gallery is it has this incredible history as one of the few galleries
in Australia to be actively engaged in presenting and promoting excellence in textile art and
fiber art practices. We have over 1,200 objects in our permanent
collection. But we offer a program which is diverse and
changing. So the permanent collection isn’t always on
display. So it’s exciting to look back to the works
that we have from the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. But also to be engaged in collecting and programming
the work of artists which are working in really exciting new way.s there’s so many younger
contemporary artists that are using fiber materials now, that it’s such an exciting
time to be collecting textile and fiber-based work again. One of our earliest acquisitions was Hammock
by John Corbett. John Corbett became one of Australia’s most
significant textile artists. This work shows that way that soft materials,
and weaving in particular, was used by the artist in to develop and exciting and unconventional
approach to sculpture. It’s a way which is of its time, but it’s
also a work which speaks quite strongly to people today. Coraza en dos Colores by Olga De Amaral is
one of the really significant works in our collection. She’s an artist of immense international renown. De Amaral was really active during the 1970s
and the 1980s in creating large-scale textile wall hangings to soften the public spaces
in modernist buildings. And that’s really where she established her
reputation. The work really came into the collection at
a time when the gallery was new to collecting fiber art. So it was a strong affirmation of the gallery’s
commitment to establishing a fiber art specialization, not only in Australia, but internationally. Another significant work from our collection
is Tony Dyer’s The Tourist Trap. What’s interesting about The Tourist Trap
is that from a distance it really looks like a painting. But as you get closer you can see that the
imagery has been created through very complex dying processes. And there’s also an interesting use of stitching
and piecing in the work. It’s a work of art which people can respond
to in a traditional sense. But also it’s clearly very much informed by
textile traditions from many different cultures. Paradise by Kate Just is one of our most significant
acquisitions in recent years. Significant in terms of its scale, but also
in terms of its importance to the artist’s practice. Paradise refers to second generation feminist
art, which we hold in our collection. So it makes some really interesting connections
to other works that we hold. But it also shows the way that younger artists
are returning to practices such as knitting. Surrender by Sebastian Di Mauro is one of
our most recent acquisitions. It’s a work that’s made from neoprene– the
material that’s used to make wetsuits. I was really interested in this work, because
we don’t hold a lot of three-dimensional works in our collection. So it’s a work which pushes a number of boundaries
for us. Both in terms of its form, but importantly
through the use of an unconventional fiber material. We had the opportunity to commission a Ngarrindjeri
weaver, Yvonne Koolmatrie, to create a large eel trap for our permanent collection. And Yvonne Koolmatrie has being represented
widely in public gallery exhibitions, including representing Australia at the Venice Biennale. It’s made from woven sedge grass. And when you get close to the work, you can
smell that material. So it really gives a strong sense of place. It’s a work which refers to aboriginal material
culture. It is an eel trap, but also a contemporary
sculpture. When I took the directorship at Ararat, I
didn’t have a background in fiber art. That’s something I’ve become really passionate
about. It’s such an interesting field, both in terms
of its history, and in terms of the very exciting ways and innovative ways, that artists are
now working with textiles and with fiber materials. There’s always something that’s absolutely
fascinating that we on display.

1 thought on “Textiles & Fibre Art: Ararat Regional Art Gallery”

  1. Zetta Kanta says:

    Thank you for sharing this. As an Australian fibre artist, it is so interesting for me to see what works are in collections in our galleries. Is there a printed or a digital catalogue of all of the work in the gallery?

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