Red

Date: Oct 17, 2001 - Jan 20, 2002
Artist: Lyn Carter, Vessna Perunovich, Karen Thiessen, Laura Vickerson
Curated by: Sarah Quinton, Marijke Kerkhoven

The exhibition Red explores historic traditions and contemporary symbolism of textiles from the Textile Museum's collection, and the work of four artists whose works are inextricably bound to this special colour. In a small companion exhibition, historic and ethnographic embroideries and weavings illustrate the craft of dyeing with natural materials such as madder, cochineal and safflower.

Historical textiles from around the world illustrate how one colour can transmit different shades of meaning; red is suitable for joyous family occasions such as marriage and birth in China, for gender seduction in Japan and for bold or scandalous intentions in Europe, but red is never neutral.

Lyn Carter's Swallowing Roses is an anthropomorphized footstool whose upholstery suggests a visceral relationship between red and the human body. Vessna Perunovich's erotically charged My Body, My Box of Pain and Pleasure series expresses desire, pleasure and danger sensations that are frequently associated with the colour red. Laura Vickerson's site-specific installation is made of thousands of red rose petals that adopt a fragile 19th century William Morris floral pattern. Karen Thiessen's handmade quilts investigate the duality of good and evil and the various connotations that red invokes: passion, anger, love, violence and trauma. The exhibition expands our understanding of the colour red and examines multicultural symbolism.


ESSAY

Red, By Marijke Kerkhoven and Sarah Quinton, 2001