This striking tapestry is the result of a second collaboration with Australian-born and London-based artist David Noonan. The ATW was eager to work again with Noonan, since the first tapestry, Untitled (2009), was such a success. Exhibited in the Adelaide Biennial, the Hayward Gallery’s British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet and at Brisbane’s Institute for Modern Art, it is now part of a renowned private collection.
For the latest project, the artist produced a number of potential images, and the chosen image was selected by the Workshop in consultation with Noonan. Unlike many of the Workshop’s projects, this artwork exists only as the original digital image and this remarkable tapestry.
This tapestry relates to a body of works in which Noonan utilizes a personal archive of found images to create hand-screened, collaged works on linen. Depicting costumed figures set against richly patterned backgrounds, the subjects seem to be caught between moments of introspection and exhibitionism.
The work is composed of two layers: the face and a superimposed layer of Japanese Boro textiles fashioned from stitched-together rags of previously dyed fabric. Because of this layering, the weavers used separate images of each layer to guide their interpretation.
The palette for this work is the same as the 2009 Noonan tapestry. The weavers at first tried to introduce some subtle blues or purples, but ultimately felt that the grey-scale palette was more sophisticated and better suited the piece.
The result is a work of dramatic yet enigmatic intensity. In 2012, this tapestry was included in the exhibition Daydream Believers at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane, and was a highlight at the ATW’s stall at the Melbourne Art Fair.
On April 2, 2012, the tapestry was cut off the loom by special guests Penny Hutchinson, Director of Arts Victoria, and Colleen Noonan, the artist’s mother. The tapestry is currently for sale.