Featured Tapestries

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Rome

The Workshop was delighted to collaborate with Brent Harris, one of the leading artists working in Australia today, on the translation of his painting No. 22 into this tapestry entitled Rome.

Brent Harris is renowned for producing works of great emotional intensity and striking graphic quality. Exhibiting for more than three decades now, his work has undergone many transformations, and appears in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery and all the state galleries. His work was the focus of a recent major exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (10 Mar-12 Aug 2012).

The work on which this tapestry is based is one of a group of works of charcoal and gouache on board. These brightly coloured, almost expressionistic paintings of intimate scale were heavily influenced by the artist’s three-month residency in 2009 at the Australia Council studio at The British School in Rome. They are extensively worked and reworked, as the artist adds and subtracts from them in equal measure, causing forms to appear and reappear as he works to a final conclusion.

This image was chosen following discussions with ATW weaver Sue Batten, who felt it was particularly well suited for a tapestry. One challenge that she faced was how to capture the subtlety of the painting’s colours using yarn. Another was the scale, creating a tapestry with more than ten times the surface area of the original work.

Although collaboration is always an important part of the artistic process at the Workshop, this tapestry involved a particularly strong partnership between weaver and designing artist. The artist has noted how the process of creating a tapestry led him to see his work with new eyes, and even to notice elements about it that he hadn’t previously.

The tapestry, which was exhibited at the Melbourne Art Fair in August 2012, is currently for sale.