Australian Quilts in Public Places (AQIPP) is a juried and judged exhibition run every second year by the Australian Quilters Association.
The theme for 2017 is Reflection, further guidance on the topic was given to entrants . Whether contemplating reflection in still water or reflecting on life, change, environment or the world around us, reflection helps to instil in us a sense of time and place.
The qualifying quilts are currently on display at Artspace at the Box Hill Town Hall, from Tuesday to Friday 10 to 4 and Saturday 12 to 4, until December 21.
The gallery is in a series of rooms to the left of the main hall and display cases line the entry ramp and and foyer.
Only a few quilts used water reflection and most of these were photographic representations or used a photograph as source materials. Sue de Vanny’s was the best of these and was highly commended. It was very difficult to capture the fleeting qualities of reflected images, there were a number of moons and Jacie Malseed found reflections in city buildings.
The abstract work of Anna Brown used a minimal palette and disciplined technique to capture the flickering images, light and shadows that flash her the surface of the water as wind and currents move through the mangroves.
A number of entrants attempted reflections on indigenous culture and the first nations. Greek mythology was represented by Narcissis who loves his own reflection and Perseus using his polished shield to view the reflection of the Gorgon, Medusa. Those that chose to reflect on issues or concepts generally resorted to including text in the work.
Jill Miglietti used rope wrapped in cotton strips collaged onto a round form to represent the simple act of clasping hands. The resulting highly textural piece showed that a simple form can make a powerful statement.
Three layers of voile with raw edge appliqué was all Denise Sargo needed to show the beauty of nature and sky reflected in the lily pond. Her delicate embroidery and beading showed great restraint.
Travel postcards were a popular device. Judy Bell’s quilt reminded me of a school project using the stickers from the American Geographical Society’s Around the World Program booklets published in the late 1950s to early 60s. In case you are not familiar with these I have found a couple of images from auction listings. The ‘Australia’ issue from 1961 seems a little odd.
The Australian Quilters Association Award went to Sandra Champion’s …on Siren Song an interpretation of the audible and visual experience of music performed in Sullivans Cove, Hobart at sunrise and sunset during Dark Mofo in June 2017. I have seen other works by this artist and each one is visually strong from a distance yet invites close inspection.
I nearly missed seeing the winner of the Brother International Award. It was very poorly displayed in a glass case at the top of steep stairs in the foyer. Reflections #2 is by Dianne Firth. It is a long narrow work 42.5cm x 131cm but that is no excuse for hanging it in such an out of the way place. It could not be contemplated even from a short way back because of the danger of falling backwards down the stairs. I was very glad to have spotted it on my way out as it is a sophisticated interpretation of twinkling lights reflected across water at night. Two striped cottons and a solid yellow, machine pieced and quilted.