Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Head Torches on Please; Artefacts with Jude McBean

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Head Torches on Please; Artefacts with Jude McBean

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAFTON REGIONAL GALLERY

TO VIEW Flora non Evidens, an installation of machine embroidered and knitted panels at the Grafton Regional Gallery, you need to wear a head torch. The torch's light is the only light source in the gallery space. It reveals the reflective thread embroidered on mesh fabric panels that are suspended from the ceiling or stretched across the floor.

The bright thread depicts rare and endangered plants from Victoria including ground covers, trees, orchids, grasses and shrubs. The thread appears dull grey in ordinary light and very bright silver in the head torch light. The plants appear to hover in space like ghosts of themselves which, considering how near they are to extinction, they may soon be. It is a magical experience.

Since graduating with a BA in Textile Design at RMIT, Melbourne, Karen Richards, has lived and worked in Warrnambool and presented a series of exhibitions of contemporary textile work. In 2011 she won the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award and the Blarney Books Biblio-Art Award at Port Fairy in Victoria.

Flora Non Evidens, which Karen Richards started in 2010, uses new materials in the form of the retro reflective thread and new technology in the form of digital embroidery. Digital embroidery has opened up the scale of work achievable by one embroiderer and allows the artist to make multiples of a design such as hundreds of leaves, which can sit together in space to make a tree.

The work conveys the fragility of rare plants and their environments as well as a great sense of space and beauty in the installation. It is poignant our visitors may only ever see these plants depicted in a gallery. This is a rare and unique installation is an enjoyable and interactive exhibition.

Head torches are available at the entry to the Loft Gallery, so come along and turn some light on an illuminating exhibition. …

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