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Art form - artefact : a theoretical evaluation of the textile medium, its history and current use in Australian art and culture

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Wright, BE (2003) Art form - artefact : a theoretical evaluation of the textile medium, its history and current use in Australian art and culture. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

My thesis explores the role of textile both as a medium in contemporary art practice and,
historically, as an Australian social and cultural artefact. I argue that textile is intimately
associated with the creation and maintenance of identity. As such, textile may be
theorised as a technique of power within our social and political system. The thesis
proposes a theory of power, based upon the theories of social scientist, Kenneth
Boulding, and philosopher, Michel Foucault. A notion of power that is integrative, that
inspires complicity on the basis of a common and ultimately rewarding identity, provides
a fruitful context for the consideration of textile, a medium associated with both public
and private spaces. I examine the uses of textile in social, religious, political and
ceremonial systems (flags, banners, religious vestments and military regalia) as well as
evaluating its traditionally recognised place as a domestic artefact.
Within contemporary art practice and theory, identity is a current issue. To a considerable
extent this is a result of feminist theory and philosophy, which is firmly rooted in an
analysis of contemporary society and the construction of identity within it. I explore the
impact of feminist theory and its interaction with the textile arts, especially during the
final quarter of the twentieth century. I consider in some depth the concept of space and
place and its division into areas designated as public and private, as these ideas impact
profoundly upon the issue of identity.
I examine the history of textile practice in Australia, by considering museum collections
as well as historical examples of work made by embroiderers and lace makers, textile
designers and makers of ceremonial and religious textile pieces. I consider its use as a
cultural and political voice through banners, as used, for instance, by trade unions.
Following on from this, I look at the inspirations of Australian textile artists and survey
the effect of art galleries and their collecting policies on contemporary Australian textile
art practice. The art/craft debate is revisited before examining the history and role of the
Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial. The Biennial is discussed in tandem with an analysis of
artist responses received to a questionnaire that I designed specifically for use in this
thesis. Current developments in the Biennial and the questionnaire data are used as the
barometer of Australian contemporary textile art development.
In summary, the thesis addresses the historical association of textile with issues of
identity and power, and considers the ways in which contemporary artists work with the
textile medium in the light of such associations.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Textile crafts, Textile fabrics in art
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis ( M.F.A.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2015 23:29
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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