What’s going on with textiles art?

Major prize positioning, a swag of exhibitions and hot picks at art fairs, prompts a fresh look at what is going on with textile art.

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the fact that today contemporary artists are working, more than ever, in a multidisciplinary way, and without the outdated perceptions attached to material.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.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina