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The Australian National University

Michael Brennand–Wood

Country: UK

visited in 1991

Workshop: Textiles

Michael Brennand – Wood was visiting artist in textiles at ANU in 1991 and has visited and lectured here several times since then and exhibited at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. He is a visual artist, curator, lecturer, and arts consultant. He is internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists working in textiles. He has occupied a central position in the research, origination and advocacy of Contemporary International Art Textiles. A defining characteristic of his work has been a sustained commitment to the conceptual synthesis of contemporary and historical sources, in particular the exploration of three-dimensional line, structure and pattern. He has persistently worked within contested areas of textile practice, embroidery, pattern, lace and recently floral imagery. Sites, which offer unbroken traditions, cross cultural interventions and a freedom to work outside the mainstream. He believes that the most innovative contemporary textiles emanate from an assured understanding of both textile technique and history.

Michael has explored and developed his own techniques inventing many new and imaginative ways of integrating textiles with other media.

Examples of Michaels work can be seen in major public, corporate and private collections worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. He won The Creative Concept Award in 1987 and The Fine Art Award in 1989 at the International Textile Competition in Kyoto, followed by the first RSA Art for Architecture Award 1990.

In 1982 he curated the controversial exhibition ‘Fabric and Form’ and co-curated the ‘Makers Eye’ both for the Crafts Council, followed in 1992 with ‘Restless Shadows’ a major Goldsmiths College touring exhibition of contemporary Japanese Textiles. Until 1989 he was a senior lecturer in the department of visual art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has taught extensively in colleges and universities in the UK and overseas, and has undertaken residencies in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Belgium. He was appointed Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2005 and is Research Fellow at the University of Ulster.

Recent work inspired by traditions of floral imagery have utilised computerised machine embroidery, acrylic paint, wood, glass and collage. Exploring the illusionary space between two and three dimensions, these works are colourful, dramatic, rhythmic and holographic in feel with intense detail that merges at a distance into strongly optical configurations.

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