The Whitworth Art Gallery is launching a new exhibition, Art_Textiles, celebrating the unique relationship between fine art and the Whitworth’s internationally significant textiles collection. Exploring the ambivalent status of textiles as an art medium, the exhibition will look at how textiles are playing an increasingly central role in contemporary art practice, and how artists have used them as a powerful tool for expressing ideas about the social, political and artistic. Bringing together art works from all over the world, the exhibition includes established names like Dorothea Tanning, Faith Wilding, Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin.

Traditionally situated on the borderland between arts and craft, textiles are enjoying new currency as a visual arts medium.  It also introduces exciting new talent such as Mary Sibande, whose work explores identity in post-apartheid South Africa and stereotypes around the black female body.

A traditional association of textiles with domestic crafts and women, and gender issues continue to be deeply implicated in textiles.  Feminist artists from the 1970s onward have reasserted the value of traditional domestic crafts like embroidery, crochet and quilting and used them as a subtle

This timely exhibition will collapse perceived boundaries between art and craft and challenge visitors to rethink the significance of medium in art and the role of materials in constructing meaning.

The opening day of the exhibition, 10 October will feature a series of special tours and conversations to celebrate the exhibition’s launch as American artists Faith Wilding and Elain Reichek join other artists and curators to spark ideas and debate.

11.00am – Artist and curator tour of Art_Textiles
12.30pm – Faith Wilding and Elain Reichek lead a discussion on the exhibition themes
3.00pm – Artist and curator tour of Art_Textiles

Art_Textiles runs at the Whitworth Art Gallery from 10 October 2015 – 31 January 2016.  Free entry.

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