C/o Craft ACT: 2020 Members Exhibition. Craft ACT. On until 12 December.
To visit this exhibition is to be heartened by the evidence that even during these strange times artists have continued to create. With over sixty artists taking part, the exhibition displays the diversity of the art practices of Craft ACT members. It includes work in wood, textiles, ceramics, metal, glass and works on paper. The theme for the exhibition is "Care" - not only for one another in a time of an epidemic but also for our environment in the face of the catastrophic bushfires earlier in the year that are symptomatic of much larger climate concerns.
Hiroshi Tamaguchi is one of the artists working in wood. His carved panel "Tsugi-Hagi" (patchwork in Japanese) is made from three different examples of inlaid wood covered with a fine glass coating. Tamaguchi's attention to the grain of the wood that he fits together so skilfully evokes fine craftsmanship allied to a sensitive feeling for design. This same attitude of celebrating the quality of the wood and treating it as a rare natural material is evident in the two stools by Wayne Creaser. Their style is based on a simple Chinese three legged stool. They have interlocked and curved stretches that form a Reuleaux triangle thereby elevating a utilitarian stool into an object of beauty.
Jennifer Robertson's woven hanging is called "Ptilinopus viridis" - the scientific name for the claret breasted fruit dove. It is a long shimmering play of muted colour and texture threaded through with one artful woven band of russet that provides a warm flash of colour.
Julie Ryder's triptych "From Aranda to Frost Hollow" is impressive in size and concept. Its three long panels are dyed with natural colours, overprinted with lines of a contour map and hand sewn with tiny squares of material. Its images describe both visually and metaphorically the walks that the artist took over many years through the local landscape.
A splash of colour in the exhibition is provided by Gail Nichols' hooked rug with its fresh colours and lively design that brings a contemporary sensibility to an old craft
Among the ceramic works Moraig McKenna's two vases in celadon glaze have beautiful markings from wood firing. Their slightly flattened forms and curved ornamental handles evoke the spirit of ceremonial vessels from another age.
Two ceramic vessels by Margaret Brown "Bush Apartments 1-2" are a poignant reminder of the bush fires. In the white porcelain vessel a carved burgeoning tree canopy provides a decorative lip. In the black porcelain vessel it is the burnt tree tops and their denuded branches that perform the same function.
Tania Vrancic's series of porcelain vessels are very colourful and vibrant with their painterly red decoration and sgraffito designs. They lend themselves to sculptural groupings and indicate a new direction in Vrancic's art practice.
Kirstie Rea's small folded sheets of coloured glass like warm blankets are safely folded within a wooden frame. They are a reminder of the fragility of life and the current injunction to 'Stay Safe'. Lisa Cahill's enamel work on glass called "Storm #9" seems to be an apt reminder of the power of nature - a power we have all recently experienced. Hannah Gason's "Reach" is a work of carefully modulated light that moves through its glass fragments and is an example of this artist's continuing impressive development. Perhaps Jo Victoria's work 'Catastrophic' - an interwoven tangle of porcelain "bones" and burnt wire - can be seen as an apt comment on this year.
Yet hope remains and the creative spirit has not been silenced as this impressive exhibition clearly demonstrates.