6 July - 26 August 2023
Curators | Sharon Peoples + Carol Cooke
Artists | Leonie Andrews | Liam Benson | Dijanna Cevaal | Carol Cooke | Cathy Jack Coupland | Makeda Duong | Di Ellis | Aimee Estcourt | Philomena Hali | Belinda Jessup | Amy Jones | Nicole Kemp | Nichole O’Laughlin | Liz Payne | Sharon Peoples | Joy Denise Scott | Wilma Simmons | Carolyn Sullivan | Suzie Vickery | Robby Wright
Exuberant: 1. Lively, high-spirited. 2. (of a plant) prolific; growing copiously. 3. (of feelings etc) abounding, lavish, effusive. (The Australian concise Oxford Dictionary.)
The original concept of this exhibition, Exuberance, was to explore exuberance through colour and how colour is expressed in contemporary hand-stitched artworks. This exhibition brings together a group of 20 Australian embroiderers/stitchers chosen for their exuberant use of hand stitch. The goal was to work independently from a common springboard for highly individualist artwork.
There were several prompts by the curators Sharon Peoples and Carol Cooke, from which the artists could begin their long stitching projects. These included colour as an expression of exuberance, exuberant growth of plants and exuberance as a psychological state or emotion. Many artists took up readings based on Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, one of the first influential books to galvanise global environmental movements. This is evidenced in many works by the exhibiting artists and the way in which they carefully balanced the potentially negative with emotional exuberance.
Why hand stitching? During the Covid Lockdowns there was a world-wide upsurge in hand crafts made at home. Many online courses sprang up with interest in hand made textiles, and in particular hand embroidery. Capturing what was happening in Australia at the time interested the curators, Carol Cooke and Sharon Peoples.
The artists were presented with a number of formal colour exercises, based on the colour wheel. Some artists rejected this notion, yet their reasons were very interesting, and this aspect is explored further in the book, Exuberance; A Stitcher’s Perspective. This book gives a deep understanding of artists’ processes as they worked towards producing final exhibition pieces.
Image: Sharon Peoples, Watering Hole, 2023 Photo: Courtesy of the artist.
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