Catching Breath is a veiled portrait of a seemingly unknown subject. The act and presence of the veil is well known to conceal or represent faith, culture and social values. In Catching Breath the veiled subject peers through the veil with eyes clearly focused on the outside. This eye communication catches our attention, our breath as we decided whether or not to lift the subjects’ veil, to reveal the unknown.
The original portrait is from the artist Brook Andrew’s archive of rare books, postcards and paraphernalia. This archive is an active medium that is massaged into the artist museum installations and exhibitions. In this case Catching Breath is well hidden below the veil of time, though one can lift it if they dare, dare to reveal the past, the curiosity, the known and unknown, the mystery.
This design is woven in two parts, separating the tapestry and its veil. Both these parts are woven with the same palette, however the veil is a thinner shaped piece, woven with an even weave (warp and weft visible in even amounts) and in a technique similar to cloth weaving. The veil is woven with a visible black warp specially dyed at the Workshop and silver Lurex thread is used.
Proudly supported by the Tapestry Foundation of Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this project is the latest addition to our Embassy Tapestry Program and is on loan to the Australian High Commission in Singapore.
Brook Andrew and Chris Cochius gave a talk about the making of Catching Breathon the 25th of August 2014, to watch the talk click here.
About the Artist:
Brook Andrew is a Melbourne based artist who works with neon, installation, photomedia, mixed-media, performance and video. Andrew challenges cultural and historical perception, using text and image to comment on local and global issues regarding race, consumerism and history.
His work with archival material has created debate and new thought surrounding contemporary philosophies regarding memory, its conceptual and visual potency linking local with international histories. By co-opting the tools of advertising, the media, museums and Wiradjuri language and culture, Brook Andrew’s art challenges the limitations imposed by power structures, historical amnesia, stereotyping and complicity - Laura Murray Cree, ‘Brook Andrew’, Artist Profile, Issue 11, 2010, pp. 50-59
Brook is represented by Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris.
Images: Design for 'Catching Breath', the artist Brook Andrew, work in progress of veil section, weavers working at ATW, making the cartoon, Tony Stefanovski, (yarn dyer) shows weavers Pamela Joyce and Chris Cochius dyed warp, work in progress image of the veil, weavers at the looms, close up of bobbins, artist Brook Andrew cutting off the veil and in front of the tapestry, group picture of those present for the cutting off of the veil. Images by ATW and Jeremy Weihrauch. Images of tapestry in situ at the Australian Embassy, Singapore by John Gollings.