Winner of the 2017 Contemporary Textile Award, John Parkes Conflagration; Cotton and wool cloth, cotton thread, hand stitch, discharge and overdye, enamel paint stains, 2016, 137 x 125cm. PHOTO: Marc Bongers, provided by Wangaratta Art Gallery
THE WANGARATTA Contemporary Textile Award 2017 is currently on display at Wangaratta Art Gallery, including this year’s winning piece by textile artist John Parkes.
The Wangaratta Art Gallery biennial textile award is a major event for the arts and culture sector of the North East Victorian Region and its associated exhibition a highlight of the contemporary textile calendar on national platform.
It is considered a profile event of the Wangaratta ‘Stitched-Up Textile Festival’ and has been enthusiastically embraced by the textile community and visitors to the region.
The prestigious acquisitive $10,000 Biennial 2017 Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award went to John Parkes for his work Conflagration. He was selected from a presentation of 40 finalists representing professional Australian textile artists who are working at the forefront of this most diverse contemporary medium.
John Parkes’ success was announced at the official opening and announcement of award in June, endorsed by the award patron associate professor Liz Williamson from UNSW Art & Design and judged by the Ararat Regional Art Gallery director Anthony Camm.
“A feature of Parkes’ practice is his recuperation of discarded utilitarian cloth through meticulous and time-bound stitching,” said Mr Camm.
“This process of altering cloth though mending and embellishment seeks to highlight, rather than diminish, what the artist Jenny Watson has called the ‘cultural quotient’ of cloth.”
Although the 2017 Award winner is not immune to controversy, and as with any major art award, the judge’s decision is guaranteed to create healthy debate. It cannot be argued that John Parkes is a worthy winner. Parkes has entered and succeeded as a finalist in each of the five awards of the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award. In 2015 Parkes was awarded ‘highly commended’ by Katie Somerville, Senior Curator of Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria.
The longevity and quality of John Parkes’ practice, his highly resolved style and technique cannot be questioned. He is an established artist and is considered a significant textile practitioner on a national platform.
Parkes completed a BA in Visual Arts (Textiles) at the Edith Cowan University, Perth WA.
He studied under well-known textile artist Elsje van Keppel, known as one of Australia’s most interesting and innovative textile artists. Since his studies, Parkes has exhibited extensively throughout Australia for the past two decades.
The exhibition continues until Sunday 6 August.
The Wangaratta Art Gallery is open Tues- Sun 10 AM – 4 PM
Special Opening hours for Monday 10 July for the ‘Stitched Up Festival‘