Art spaces, Artists, contemporaryart, Exhibitions, Galleries, Inspiration, Studio practice, Textiles

Entering the experiences of others

Imagine walking into a room where masses of cloth that appear to be stained with something like soot or even dirt are arranged over almost the entire floor. Huge paper panels hang from the walls, smeared with dull-coloured stains. Are these marks made by nature or the human hand? Are the surfaces weathered? Accidental? Angry? This was my response on entering the work of Carmen Argote, a Mexican artist living in the US, whose practice focuses strongly on her immediate environment, and her personal responses to it.

This exhibition, As Above, So Below, curated by Margot Norton at New York’s New Museum, is the result of two artist residencies the artist has undertaken in Guadalajara where she delved deeply into the rural and agricultural environments she encountered.

Responding to her surroundings through observation, bodily awareness, local architecture and agricultural activity, she has used materials from those environments directly in the works themselves. Organic substances like coffee, pine needles, avocado and cochineal are embedded into cloth and smudged onto paper through a process of dyeing, or applied to a support like paint. Reflecting an amalgamation of the corporeal and the spiritual in Argote’s practice, her exhibition’s title speaks to a belief in sacred geometry that sees Earth as a reflection of the heavens.

The scale of the installation seems to suck you in to taste the atmosphere she herself experienced. Argote’s work is a deeply felt response to her culture, new environments, and the political and economic relationship we all have with the land.

It was one of the memorable textile-based exhibitions I encountered on my recent trip to the US.

I loved the cluster of beautiful little textile collages I found by German artist Hannelore Baron at the Guggenheim‘s Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection exhibition. Small, thoughtful and quite pained, they are exquisite little assemblages of life experience.

Born in Dillingen, Germany, in 1926, Baron and her family fled to New York in 1941 to escape the escalating Nazi hold over Europe. Sadly the trauma inflicted on her led to mental breakdowns and claustrophobia as an adult and she lived out her troubled life in an insular and solitary way.

Her work embodies a deep sadness, interwoven with the fragile specialness of life and the uncertainties inherent in the human condition. It’s as though she has caught fragments of things while they were falling around her and cobbled them together in a way that both reveals and conceals her personal experiences and her inner turmoil of depression, claustrophobia and life-long breakdowns.

Beautiful little works in every way.

While in San Francisco it was a treat to accidentally stumble upon a beautiful, intimately scaled exhibition of lovingly mended central Asian storage bags at the de Young Museum. The Turkmen Storage Bag exhibition highlighted not only the different designs of cultural groups but the amazing mending evident on most of the pieces. I’m always drawn to mending for a variety of reasons so I was a sucker for this one. These pieces were lush and richly coloured. So important, so useful, and so laden with meaning, that the wear and tear, as well as the repair stitching, was simply and artfully magic.

Small and thoughtfully put together, this was another textile highlight of the trip.

I love the feeling of excitement that goes with chance discovery. Seeing how others respond to life experience is always an education in itself. What better way to do this than through engaging with art?

rhondapryor.com

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contemporaryart, Experiments, Photographs, Studio practice, Textiles

Processing thoughts, thinking through processes

I’ve been doing some research in the studio. Mind-wandering. Taking time. Considering how things will move forward.

Although I mostly work with textiles and photography, I think my creative practice reflects my painting background in many ways. I find both these media useful and evocative tools to work with, that invite interpretation of memory, feeling and sense of place. 

Digital print on silk, silk thread

I love the process of creation. I love the sense of wonder at what might happen, in spite of the fact there are roadblocks along the way. You have an idea you want to explore and at times it just seems to go nowhere, until one little thing looks promising. Pursuing that one little thing can lead to another promising lead – or nothing worthwhile at all. That’s the territory. Still, curiosity tends to win out.

I’m inclined to spend lots of time tinkering, thinking and accumulating, before taking concrete action. Internal worlds have always occupied my interest.

Digital print on canvas, embroidery thread

These works are in-progress pieces that I hope illustrate a little of my present process. I’ve been looking at pinhole photography, printed onto cloth, in combination with stitching. Still investigating memory responses, the stitching is a nod to the human element in the images – not literal, but evocative of human presence.

Digital print on Belgian linen, embroidery thread

Over the next few months these pieces will evolve into a direction for an upcoming solo exhibition early next year. 

Check in occasionally to see how it all progresses…

All the best,

rhondapryor.com

rhondapryor10@gmail.com

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Art classes, Art spaces, contemporaryart, Exhibitions, Galleries, Textiles, upcycling, workshops

Mid-show reminder: Stories We Tell Ourselves

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Hello again.

My exhibition Stories We Tell Ourselves is in the middle of its run at 541 Art Space (Level 1, 541 Kent Street, Sydney, www.541artspace.com.au). If you haven’t yet seen it, you’ll need to get a move on. It closes on Saturday September 22.

I’m running one more textile workshop on the final day. If you’re interested in coming along please contact the gallery: 541artspace_program@nanhaimedia.com (closing drinks are included!).

In the meantime here are some images from the opening night.



Much gratitude goes to Alison Clark, Team Leader Arts and Culture North Sydney Council, for her thoughtful and eloquent opening speech.

Below are a couple of images from the first workshop. Mounds of linen, textile scraps and yarn – a lovely way to spend a spring afternoon!


I hope you get to see the exhibition. I’d love to know what you think.

Warm wishes,

www.rhondapryor.com

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Art spaces, contemporaryart, Exhibitions, Galleries, Textiles, upcycling, workshops

Exhibition reminder and a special workshop offer…

 

Only a few days to go until my exhibition Stories We Tell Ourselves opens at 541 Art Space. I hope you can come.

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To complement the exhibition I’ll be running two three-hour stitch workshops on Saturday 8th and Saturday 22nd September.

541 Art Space is very generously offering my subscribers a 20% discount on the price of these sessions. All you need to do is click on this link to book. When purchasing your ticket click “enter promotional code” and enter the promotion code “RHONDA” to claim your 20% discount.

Here are the workshop details:

Stories We Tell Ourselves stitch workshops

Saturday 8th September, 12-3 pm (includes afternoon tea)
Saturday 22nd September,12-3 pm (includes exhibition closing drinks)

At 541 ART SPACE, Level 1, 541 Kent Street Sydney

Spend an afternoon stitching an abstract artwork that reflects your own unique story. You are encouraged to bring along any personal or used fabric or garments that are meaningful to you in some way (that you won’t mind cutting up). We’ll explore shape, colour, composition and memory to make a special piece of art or an experimental piece that will expand your creativity that little bit more.

All equipment and materials will be provided, including a selection of fabrics if you forget to bring some of your own.

Bookings are essential. Cost $25 + booking fee.

For more information please email 541artspace_programs@nanhaimedia.com

I hope to see you at this Friday’s opening (or at one of the workshops)!
All the best,

 

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Art classes, Artists, contemporaryart, Exhibitions, Galleries, mending, repair, Studio practice, Textiles, upcycling, workshops

Advance exhibition notice. Save the date!

Hello there.

I want to tell you about my upcoming solo exhibition Stories we tell ourselves. With the crazy-busy lives we all lead these days I thought I’d give you time to schedule it into your diaries if you can.

This body of work examines the relationship between worn and discarded cloth, their poignant associations with memory, and the narratives they generate. Each piece represents a unique story, imperfectly remembered, translated into ‘pictures’ of moments in time, and readings of relationships.

Here are the details:

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And here are a few images of work in progress. I hope they pique your curiosity!

I’ll be running a couple of textile art making workshops during the exhibition too. I’ll post more details closer to the opening (August 31).

Warm wishes,

RP signature_tiny

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Rhonda Pryor, Reminders, installation
Art classes, Exhibitions, Textiles, workshops

Reminders resurrected

I’m delighted to re-exhibit my 2013 work Reminders in the Inside Outside Sculpture Plinth in North Sydney’s Civic Park. The work is now configured differently inside its new glass display case: less that half its original size and without the rusty wire roses.

This piece, originally made as a site specific installation for the Hidden exhibition at Rookwood Cemetery, employs the concept of the veil, alluding to the crossing from life to the state of death. The film of sheer organza is embroidered with handwritten words and phrases, obtained from the personal correspondence of various members of my  family, that relate to the loss of loved ones.

Here are some day and night photographs in its new display location.

The original work wrapped around a tree and was staked to the ground with rusty wire twisted into the shape of roses.

The newly configured work will be on display in Civic Park for the next few weeks.

On another note: the Public Programs for my residency at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability have been finalised. You can click on this link to see when Open Studio days are scheduled, and check out the free workshops I’m offering for adults and children.

For a more comprehensive update on planned classes and workshops at various locations please check out this link to the News section of my website. I’m now offering an adults’ term class in creative processes at Ku-Ring-Gai Art Centre, as well as an assortment of stand alone workshops.

I hope you get to see Reminders while it’s on show in North Sydney. I’d love you to get in touch and let me know what you think!

 

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Art spaces, Kids, Textiles, upcycling, workshops

New classes, new art centre

It’s been a full-on start to 2018. New workshops are planned, a refurbished art centre I’m involved with is nearing completion, and I have new work in development for exhibitions in the second half of the year.

Firstly, its amazing to see the progress of the refurbishment of a building in my local area (Lane Cove in Sydney) for a creative art centre where both practitioners and community can make,  practice, and  explore their creative potential. As a member of the Centrehouse Management Committee and its refurbishment sub-committee, it has been a bit of a long slog getting the new Gallery Lane Cove + Creative Studios building happening.

But this week’s site visit has made it all seem within reach at last. (Big pats on the back for all the fantastic committee members and Lane Cove Council staff who have made this happen!).

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The huge, light-filled painting and drawing studio.

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The textile studio.

With studios that will accommodate painting and drawing classes, textile practice, printmaking and ceramics, as well as space for practising visiting artists, the new centre will replace the old Centrehouse Community Art Centre facilities and be located on two floors beneath the existing (and recently renovated) Gallery Lane Cove.

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One of the artist-in-residence spaces.

On track to open mid year, the centre will be a welcome addition to the fast-developing northern Sydney region. Stay tuned for news about all the opening events!

I also have some new workshops coming up in the next couple of months I want to let you know about. Click on the links for more information and bookings.

Friday 23 March

Stitch Drawing on Fabric and Paper

Creating Wellbeing Program (free workshop), North Sydney Community Centre

 

Wednesday 11 April

Looking at Water: Memory Loss and Dementia Art Session

Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre

 

Thursday 12 April

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Boro Bag Workshop for Adults

Workshop Arts Centre

 

Monday 16 April

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Slow-Stitch Apron Workshop for kids (course #95)

Ku-Ring-Gai Arts Centre

 

Wednesday 18 April

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Making Memories with my Grandchild Workshop

Art Space on the Concourse, Chatswood

More details to follow…

 

Thursday 19 April

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Slow-Stitch Tote Bag Workshop for kids

Workshop Art Centre

 

Monday 23 April

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Slow-Stitch Apron Workshop for kids (course #108)

Ku-Ring-Gai Arts Centre

 

Thursday 26 April

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Slow-Stitch Tote Bag Workshop for kids

Workshop Art Centre

 

Can’t wait to see you or your kids at one of the workshops!

 

 

 

 

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