Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Textile Triennial

Yesterday I visited a few of the shows that form part of the "Triennale Internationale des Arts Textiles en Outaouais". The Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans, just east of Ottawa, is hosting three of the thirteen shows in the Triennial.

My favourite was a show of the woven tapestries of Archie Brennan & Susan Martin Maffei, all made in the mid-1990's. The larger work of Susan Martin Maffei is a single series, The New York Times. With one horizontal exception, all of the pieces were tall, about seven feet in height, and narrow, about 30" wide. All of her pieces featured the New York Times newspaper, brilliant colours, and a small black-and-white vignette of a New York City street scene. Most of the pieces featured a large, single figure, dominating the space, and a flattened perspective.



The work of the second artist, Archie Brennan, was monochromatic. The palette may have been determined by the natural colour of the wools used in the woven tapestries. The series, titled Dersu Uzala, was comprised of smaller works, perhaps 3 feet high and 2 feet wide. The images were stylized, and many of the pieces featured text as part of the design.

The work of each artist, who are married to each other, was very distinctive, but both had a graphic style. This show is open until September 22.

I also viewed Felted Language, an exhibition of felted works by contemporary fibre artists Claire Guerette of Gatineau and Diane Lemire of Chelsea. Below is a panoramic shot of the show, in the Trinity Gallery. It is comprised of mostly small, doll-sized, felted figures. Most of the garment-like objects are made of felted wool, with the addition of somewhat incongruous embroidered garment labels. This show is open until September 24.

The most varied of the three shows at the Shenkman is Past and Present. It consists of textile work of all sizes, framed and unframed. The art is hung in the working offices of the AOE Arts Council. I was warmly welcomed by the receptionist and encouraged to wander through the boardroom, the staff kitchen and the work stations. I didn't take photos because I felt it might intrude on the staff. This show is open until October 10.

No comments: