An interest in textile and fibre art seems to bubble up perennially, not that it ever really disappears. But every now and again, it is drawn into the spotlight usually with a tone of surprise. This is despite the fact that today contemporary artists are working, more than ever, in a multidisciplinary way, and without the outdated perceptions attached to material.
A great example is Julia Gutman’s portrait from recycled clothing that was named winner of the 2023 Archibald Prize in May this year. While we may bow to the idea that J F Archibald (whose bequest funded the inaugural Archibald Prize back in 1921) would never have considered a woman, let alone a textile artist to have scooped this revered prize, there still remained an element of surprise that Gutman’s portrait got across the line in 2023.