Ararat Gallery TAMA to open new exhibition Fantasies on July 20

Posted Wednesday 3 July, 04:40pm

A large-scale suspended sculpture made up of more than 30 whispy nightgowns and slip dresses – which people can walk through and touch – will be the centrepiece of Ararat Gallery TAMA’s newest exhibition, opening on July 20.

Fantasies, by Melbourne-based artist Hannah Gartside, will show at the Ararat Gallery Textile Art Museum Australia (TAMA) until October 20. It is featured as a satellite program for the 2019 Craft Cubed Festival, run by Craft Victoria from 1-31 August 2019.

Ms Gartside is one of Australia’s foremost emerging textile artists with her work featured in Vogue Living Australia and Textile Fibre Forum magazines and represented in the Wangaratta Art Gallery public collection.

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said the Gallery was looking forward to hosting Ms Gartside’s work.

While her work is being exhibited in Ararat, Ms Gartside will also hold an artist talk during the exhibition opening, as well as two upcycled fashion workshops, one for school groups and one for the general public, both focussing on teaching practical skills of hand and machine sewing.

Ms Gartside said Fantasies is an ongoing suite of sculptural works which engages the materiality and embedded memories of found undergarments and sleepwear to convey both the strangeness of ‘being’ in a body as well as a curiosity for, and delight in, new sensations.

The sculptures use traditional quilting and dress-making techniques, which draw from Ms Gartside’s training first in fashion then through her work as a classical ballet costume maker.

Through transforming the pastel-coloured synthetic nightie, a well-known and outdated piece of clothing, the artworks in Fantasies seek to bring the viewer into a space of sensual delight and wonder.

“The nightie is an object that’s been eroticised through popular culture since the 1950s, but is also attached to the Riot grrl feminist punk movement of the 1990s – it functions as both a symbol of female agency and a connection back in time,” Ms Gartside said.

Fantasies seems to be haunted by all these associations – the implicated body becomes a phantom, or ghost, contained in the fabric.

“The shredded skirts in The Sleepover create columns/portals of colour, which are disrupted and dissolve into one another as the viewer walks through the sculpture, their face caressed by lace hems.

Image: The Sleepover by Hannah Gartside will feature in Ararat Gallery TAMA’s new exhibition, opening on July 20. Photograph by Louis Lim.