Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Alana Clifton-Cunningham: Visible Markings

Arm Sling

Currently nestled in Gallery 3 is Alana Clifton-Cunningham's fabulous show, Visible Markings: New Knitting. Exploring the nature of wool and pushing the boundaries about the way the material can be manipulated, Alana creates spectacular 3D tactile works of art that would look good on your body or on a wall. Most of the works have been knitted using a machine, while some are hand knitted and are truly a sight to behold.

Alana's exhibition will be on until 25 July. We'll be featuring Alana in an upcoming edition of Introducing... so stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, a word from the artist:

Shoulder Wrap (foreground), Gloves (background)

Alana Clifton-Cunningham utilises traditional and contemporary knitting techniques to explore the knitted form as a kind of ‘second skin’. Knitting here functions as a vehicle for ‘deconstruction’, with familiar garment edifices transformed into disarticulated ‘body pieces’. These ‘body pieces’ cocoon and distort regions or portions of the human body, challenging our understanding of clothing structures. Clifton-Cunningham incorporates elements of mixed media in her design practices including laser cut timber veneer and leather, exploring juxtapositions such as hard and soft, rough and smooth, mass and gradation.

Neck pods (detail)

In this new body of work, Clifton-Cunningham focuses on the traditional practice of body scarification, a tactile language inscribed onto the surface of the skin that is often misunderstood due to popular Western misconceptions and negative connotations. Within this work, body scarring has been utilised in conjunction with knitting as a form of symbolism exploring the concepts of gender, protection and identity. In some cultures scarring signifies a ‘rite of passage’: sexual maturity, the journey from childhood to adulthood, or social acceptance. Other forms of scarification serve the purpose of tribal identification, spiritual protection, or aesthetic beautification. Visible Markings appropriates patterning techniques from the tradition of scarification to place knitting at the forefront of a politics of the body.

Shoulder Shield

Alana Clifton-Cunningham is a fashion and textile designer based in Sydney and has been a full-time academic within the Fashion and Textile Design course at UTS. Her area of specialisation examines the perceptions of contemporary knitting, and interrogates the notion of ‘deconstruction’ by looking beyond traditional knitted coverings for the body. To date, Alana has completed a Masters in Design (Hons) through the College of Fine Art, University of NSW.

Gloves (detail)


Second skin: wall pieces with Neck Pods (foreground)

Photography by Alexia Skok

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