While I was in Sydney recently I had the chance to visit the Powerhouse Museum's Love Lace exhibition, an excellent show featuring 130 works incorporating or inspired by lace by 134 artists from 20 countries.
There are two rooms of contemporary jewellery pieces including intricate wirework by Michaela Bruton, a colourful Elizabethan-inspired wire and silicon brooch by Stephen Gallagher, porcelain-dipped crocheted lace-fungi by Katherine Wheeler, and many more.
The diversity of the works is surprising and refreshing, propelling a traditional craft technique into a contemporary context of critical inquiry. Works span across disciplines, ranging from sculpture, jewellery and craft to fashion and textiles, through to video, installation and public art.
A number of prizes were awarded in conjunction with the exhibition. The overall winner was a crocheted steel and copper wire automotive engine entitled Detroit's Shadow, by Anne Mondro. Her crocheting technique has resulted in a ghostly transparency with a flaccidity reminiscent of Claes Oldenberg's soft sculptures.
The Powerhouse Museum has been collecting lace for over a century and over 300 pieces belonging to the permanent collection are accessible through its Lace Study Centre.
Love Lace runs until April 2012, so if you're planning to be in Sydney over the holidays or early next year, have a look! If you can't make it, the works, interviews and documentary videos can be viewed on the Powerhouse website.