Flora & Fauna: from Mississippi to Australia: Kerr Grabowski

11/10/2017

Internationally acclaimed artist to exhibit in Newcastle

American-born fibre artist Kerr Grabowski will present her second Australian exhibition at Timeless Textiles gallery in October 2017.

Known for innovative approaches to dyeing and screening processes, Kerr’s love of colour and mark-making, and her spontaneity, combine to create the diverse pieces in the exhibition. They include one-of-a-kind silk fabrics used to create art wear and wall art, silk organza clothing and wall pieces made of printed, dyed and stitched teabag papers.

“I have always sewn, so it seemed perfectly logical to turn my drawings into clothing,” Kerr said. “Art school in Mississippi in the 70s was about art, not craft, so for a while, I pretended that this ‘clothing’ I was creating was merely a means to an end, a way to support my daughter and myself. After a while I admitted my love of making art that others could literally wrap themselves up in. I am still at it after 38 years.”

She says her Flora and Fauna from Mississippi to Australia exhibition begins as narrative, staying true to the rich oral history of her Mississippi roots.

“My muse is the thread that connects the life cycle of the garden, interactions between friends and lovers, and mysterious items washing up on the beach” Kerr explains. “I spend hours watching the flora and fauna in my garden, monarch eggs on milkweed, tiny caterpillars eating and creeping through the grass to that special spot to morph into a chrysalis, then emerging to begin again.”

The techniques used to create the exhibition include collage incorporating teabags and papers, which are laminated to organza. Kerr says the results have the delicacy of aging petals. While the origin of some of the pieces are obvious, most are textures and forms taken from flora and fauna but abstracted. 

“Although I am inspired primarily by banksia, magnolia, okra and roaches, the imagery is more imaginary. The delicacy of tender new petals, and of very old ones, inspires the organza clothing pieces with soft colours and gentle marks.” 

The Flora and Fauna from Mississippi to Australia exhibition will be opened by Judy Hooworth from 6- 8 pm on 12 October and runs until 5 November 2

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