An exhibition of textile sculpture installations by
Susan Fell Mclean
Oct 3-Nov 15 2009 Curator Jo Ely
‘Six Memos’ is an exciting new exhibition by internationally recognised textile artist Susan Fell Mclean.
In this new body of work, Mclean challenges the traditional ways in which textile art is perceived and represented. Six large-scale installations inhabit the gallery space, repositioning textile as an extension of sculpture and contemporary critical concerns.
The exhibition is not focussed on technique alone. Mclean has taken inspiration from the writings of literary great, Italo Calvino. In his seminal text, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Calvino identified six key values that elevate us beyond the human condition, reiterating them as a set of principles to guide us into the twentieth century and beyond. Mclean interprets and responds to these values – Visibility, Exactitude, Lightness, Quickness, Multiplicity and Consistency – as they relate to contemporary society.
Each of the values is explained as a balance between the meaning of the value and its antithesis. For instance, we cannot understand lightness without comprehending heaviness. We cannot comprehend quickness without having experienced slowness and deliberation. To understand exactitude we need to experience chaos and disorder. And so on.
The resultant artworks transgress the boundaries of textile art, combining very traditional textile dying and making techniques with contemporary sculptural concerns and notions of sustainable living.
Based in Euroa, in Northern Victoria, Mclean extracts many of her dyes from Australian eucalyptus leaves, producing the soft and subtle colours which characterise her work. These organic and muted hues, together with delicate Japanese Rozome and Shibori techniques, create layered and textural artworks evocative of the arid Australian landscape.
This is an exhibition of exceptional and visionary artworks.Susan Fell Mclean has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions nationally, as well as in Belgium, Canada, France, Italy and Malaysia. In 2008 she was invited to exhibit textile work in the Parisienne exhibitions, ‘Australia Naturally’ and ‘Sculptured Packages’, and had a short film screened at the Musee du Quai Branly. She holds a Master of Visual Arts from Monash University. Whilst studying, she was awarded a highly sought-after studio position at the Palazzo Vaj, Prato,Tuscany, Italy. She regularly attends international conferences as a speaker and exhibitor. Wall text by Curator Jo Ely