“This show is a lament for the loss of the handmade skills in domestic dressmaking from a passed era. Adornment of the bride, and child for christenings, are the focus of the show. Women and their family would spend days and weeks creating exquisite clothes with great skill and care. Such skills were, of course, taught completely within the home. The mass manufacture of clothing has led to the loss of these wonderful, meditative, and often selfless – activities. We are now too narcissistic to devote our time to others. This is a loss to our community.” - Alison Fraser
The ceramics and Prussian Blue prints are exquisite. There was a dainty yet ghostly nostalgic feel to each piece. I like that her photograms is a form of 1800s camera-less photography, which I have an interest in.
Alison placed antique clothing (dresses, blouses, gloves, shirts etc) on archival handmade paper and exposed it to light. I thought each piece was a screen print or painting. However, it was a cyanotype print. Cyanotypes use a solution of iron compounds, as opposed to silver in black and white photography. It's developed using UV light, such as the sun, a light box or a UV lamp. I had a chat with Alison about her process and she mentioned that Tungsten lamps didn't work well as the light wasn't strong enough. She exposed each garment on paper, that was painted with cyanotype solution, for about 4 to 8 seconds in the sun. The print turns Prussian Blue where the sunlight hits the paper, the garment blurs light, so it stays white. Beautiful detail was present in each print. It almost looked like floating ghosts on the wall.
I also met curator, Amber Creswell Bell - we realised we had a mutual friend too! I had an inspiring chat with her about the exhibition, Alison, art, as well as her leaving the corporate world to pursue a career in art and writing. She followed her passion and I find that very admirable as not many people take that leap. I tip my hat to you Amber!
I recommend that you see this exhibition, you won't be disappointed. Pencil it in your diary!
In To Memeory by artist Alison Fraser
16th September – 2nd October 2015
Where: Saint Cloche Gallery
37 MacDonald St, Paddington NSW Australia 2021
Phone: 0434 274 251
Opening Hours Mon – Sun: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
(closed on public holidays and sometimes in between exhibitions)