MATERIAL CULTURE
17.03.2022 - 23.03.2022

NGV Melbourne Design Week

At the Above, Fitzroy AU

Curated by Marsha Golemac

 

This exhibition is a dedication to the ongoing evolution of ‘material culture’ – an attempt to expand on conversations surrounding why and how things are made, and what social, functional, or symbolic needs they satisfy. We’re often presented with competing ideas of old versus new, as if there is not value in both. We see it in all facets of our everyday lives. But, what if we did away with that distinction? This exhibition offers a space for creatives, and guests alike, to imagine a world where yesterday’s ideologies and tomorrow’s innovations can coexist. Featuring the work of sixteen designers, makers and artists, the exhibition encourages participants to embrace traditional and ultra-modern techniques in object design. Each participant has created an object using a natural or cultural resource with a focus on tactility and materiality. Purposeful in nature, as defined by the participant, the object is a representation of the world they want to live in.

- Marsha Golemac

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Exhibition poster, Material Culture for NGV Melbourne Design Week 2022

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Grid XI (details) 2022, wool and cotton on metal mesh, 90 x 90 cm.
Photo Annika Kafcaloudis

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Grid XI 2022, wool and cotton on metal mesh, 90 x 90 cm. Photo Annika Kafcaloudis

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A THREAD BETWEEN
12.03.2022 - 09.04.2022

ReadingRoom

Northcote AU

Jordan Mitchell-Fletcher + Jacqueline Stojanović
Exhibition text written by Emma Nixon

 

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Untitled (portrait) 2021, handwoven tapestry made of wool and jute, 74 x 74.5 cm.

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Trileće 2022, handwoven tapestry made of wool and jute, 75 x 69 cm.

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Twill 3, Twill 2, Hopsack 2, Twill 1, Hopsack 1 2022, coloured pencil on wooden blocks on plywood, 10 x 10 x 3 cm (each).

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Colour field drawing 2022, coloured pencil on wooden blocks on plywood, 30 x 30 x 3 cm.

a thread between | exhibition text by Emma Nixon
 

A thread is used to mend or hold together— weaving itself in and out, in and out until it becomes intrinsic to a fabric and connects itself to a wider whole. The thread throughout this exhibition is the synergy of Jacqueline Stojanović and Jordan Mitchell-Fletcher’s friendship and collaboration, it is the magnetic force between them.

 

Jacqueline describes the movement of weaving as a “dance in form and colour.” This exhibition pirouettes poetically between the bright pops of colour in Jacqueline’s drawings, and the deep navy and raw brown in her tapestries, which are paired with the polished and irregular textures of Jordan’s ceramic tiles, her intense terracotta marbling on earthenware and her shadowed graphite pencil drawings. Jacqueline and Jordan’s exhibition speaks to their own personal connection as friends and fellow artists, but also to broader traditions of craft and women’s work. Weaving and tiling are their primary respective mediums, ancient methods that intersect beauty with function. By continuing these traditions within their contemporary art practices, these two artists keep them alive, carrying them on. Driven by a strong work ethic, they are constantly teaching themselves new ways of making art and honing the skills of their mediums. Their collective inquiry into the form of the square and the diamond is explored through wood, wool and ceramic, all materials belonging to the Earth. This is harmonised with a focus on working with their hands and utilizing tools— a loom, a kiln.

 

Jacqueline experiences weaving as both a social and solitary space. As a discipline, it has connected her to many people, notably weavers in the countries she calls home, both in Pirot, Serbia and in Langwarrin, Victoria. A master weaver of the McClelland Spinners and Weavers Guild gifted Jacqueline the table loom she works on now, one woman passing on knowledge and equipment to another. The wool she uses is sometimes gifted from a friend. But weaving also requires many hours alone, a pouring of energy, one to one, between artist and apparatus. An embodiment of that labour and time, the artworks then take on their own stories. Jacqueline has also begun to teach weaving, and the oral histories continue.

 

Seeing her practice as a study of processes, Jordan spends a long time with her ceramics, each piece carved by hand, fired once, glazed, and fired again. If she isn’t satisfied with the outcome, she breaks the objects down and reuses them – the cycle repeats. She sees her ceramics as existing within a ‘temporal arc’ and thinks about how “presentation is just a moment in the timeline of a work.” Interested in how a glaze can render different shapes and colours, this part of Jordan’s process is all by estimation, a trial and error, fingers crossed as the artworks come out of the kiln. Jordan’s larger tile relief Stack bond, 2021, is metallic and bronzed; from afar it echoes an ornamental chess board. Closer-up you see the imprint of a textile element, a loose string weave, once malleable and free now trapped and static within the darkness of the shiny tiles. The string is differently placed in every square, sometimes tightly together and sometimes spread wonkily apart, a soft abstraction that gestures in distinctive ways.

 

Both artists are interested in patterns they come across in books and the outside world. Jacqueline’s patterns are often pre-existing weaving patterns, but she is also deeply motivated by the intersection of geometric shape and bold colours. Her works Twill 1, 2, 3 and Hopsack 1, 2 from 2022 are coloured pencil drawn on small wooden blocks. Roughly made, they take on the character of a children’s game, worn over time and passed through many hands. Her varied use of either “twill” or “hopsack” weaving designs show the pattern from different aspects— from higher up, further away, or in double. Thinking about how over time cultural patterns can lose meaning when their symbols are forgotten or out of context, Jacqueline questions how a once ubiquitous pattern can be rendered abstract. The design for Trileće, 2022, one of the artists’ larger weavings, originates from the Serbian style “three milk” cake, known for its feathered dual-toned decoration. To most viewers it is simply an abstraction, but for Jacqueline the textiles’ navy and honey-coloured wool warmly emulates the caramel and butter patterning, simple luxuries that melt in ones’ mouth.

 

Jordan often draws on details from her everyday life, such as the arrangement of tiles on a slippery floor at the swimming pool. Ever attentive to the brick patterns she sees on walks in her neighbourhood, she researches the pattern names before reconstructing them in her artworks. The brick-laying formation “Spanish bond” appears in one of her graphite drawings, meticulously drawn the geometric markings appear uniform and faultless, but their tonal shading gives them a depth closer to reality. Jacqueline’s drawings are on 1mm grid paper pulled straight from the notepad; binder rings exposed. Allowing the grid to guide her abstractions, these works on paper are evocative of a weavers’ drafting process and speak to the immediacy of drawing as a medium. Linking both artists’ drawings is the laboured pencil marks, traces of touch which remind us of the nature and poetry of the home-made.

 

Throughout the exhibition subtle links between the artists are everywhere in evidence, inherent to each other’s work and proving friendships’ power of osmosis. While it is an interdisciplinary exhibition, all the artworks are underpinned by common ideas – of simplicity, repetition, beauty. They draw on their shared language, intuitively built by hand both together and apart. The final two works in the exhibition are exemplary of this. Jacqueline’s playful and propulsive Colour Field Drawing, 2022 takes on a distinctly tile-like quality evocative of a bespoke mosaic table-top. Jordan’s Flat basket weave, 2022 takes its shape from a weavers’ pattern and investigates how it translates to ceramic, the bleed and bleach of the glaze creating a curious organic finish. These two works appear on the edge of the space, heading into the gallery office and beyond. Tipped on its’ side, a square becomes a diamond, signalling a further playfulness to come.
 

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Untitled (1mm squares) (coloured drawings) 2020, coloured pencil on graph paper, 37.5 x 29 x 4 cm

COOKING WITH JOHN
22.05.2021 - 05.06.2021

Haydens

Brunswick East AU

Curated by Amalia Lindo + Jacqueline Stojanović

 

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Cooking with John curated by Amalia Lindo + Jacqueline Stojanović
 

A John Nixon lunch is soup, reheated on the stove top, with different recipes week to week. It is “only two olives left, one for me, one for you”. It is red capsicums in a pink bowl and green cucumber on a blue plate; an assemblage of colour and form like a constructed painting, which sometimes shares the lunch table. On other occasions, a pie or a sausage offer a departure from the usual routine. Occasionally there is cake, always there is bread.

 

Enacted almost as ritual, the weekly lunch provided a pause in the day’s work. With John, the table was a site for eating, working, and talking, just as the food served upon it offered more than a form of sustenance or perhaps a new material for his practice; at John’s table, food became an analogical tool for discussion on art and life. 


“Show ten loaves of bread, okay, we understand what you do.”
 

Cooking with John takes its cue from a selection of John’s food analogies, recorded by his most recent assistants, Amalia Lindo and Jacqueline Stojanović. The exhibition is a testimonial to John’s teachings through the presentation of new works by the artist friends and mentees from Nixon’s wide circle who have also had the pleasure of sharing John’s table. We present Cooking with John as an “anti-cookbook” wherein the analogies are the recipes and the artworks are the ingredients. 


The head chef has left but the kitchen remains open.

VIEW ROOM SHEET

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Jacqueline Stojanović
Yesterday's Bread 2021

Flour, water, two trestle tables

Dimensions variable

JN: If you have lots of orange trees you don't need to show one million oranges. 


 

I began baking bread in 2018, after being gifted a portion of mother dough to care for in Sicily. I toiled to keep it alive under ever changing conditions and eventually transported it to Melbourne where every week I baked a loaf attempting to perfect the practice. The successful loaves would always accompany me to the Briar Hill studio on the days John and I worked together, to be shared at the lunch table. The unsuccessful loaves were reserved for me alone to critically deconstruct.

Both at the tables, for lunch and for work, we talked about bread. These conversations  meandered through the political and proletariat to the spiritual and ritualistic associations of bread as matter and metaphor,  and in discussion  John introduced me to the personal history of bread artworks by friends in his circle. But mostly, I felt that bread for me was as potatoes were for John, a symbol of labour commonly understood and consumed. How different is making a tapestry and baking a loaf of bread?  

 

The successful loaf harnesses all essential elements of life: earth, water, air and fire, with good timing.

 

In 2019 I made an exhibition titled Bread + Games after the metonymic phrase referring to superficial appeasement. As part of this exhibition I painted my bread and displayed it on the wall. John didn’t mess around with any superficial appeasement, and spent weighted words with me about the bread, the paint, the wall. It’s everything it needs to be left plain on a table. 

 

So, bon appetit John; a table for lunch and a table for work, and a second chance for yesterday’s bread. 

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Photos Christo Crocker

FUTURE INHERITANCE
25.03.2021 - 28.03.2021

NGV Melbourne Design Week

Truce, Collingwood AU

https://www.instagram.com/future.inheritance/

 

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Azbuka Rug 2021

Wool, cotton and jute

70 x 80 cm
Photo Lillie Thompson

Future Inheritance curated by Marsha Golemac
 

Many of us inherit objects handed down from generation to generation, some ordinary or banal, some functional, others impractical, and some rare, precious and irreplaceable. Irrespective of their properties, they all carry inherit meaning, having been deemed worthy of preservation and appreciation by us, as individuals. Future Inheritance explores the power of objects, the stories they hold and the ways in which they transfer ideas and values, from one generation to the next. If we were to leave an object behind for a loved one – what would it look like and what is the significance of that object; emotional, historical, cultural or otherwise? Curated by Marsha Golemac, the exhibition showcases the works of 20 artists, with new work commissioned for this exhibition.

~

 

Azbuka rug is a very personal work made reflecting upon my own mixed heritage; the widely forgotten symbols of handwoven carpets in my family’s homeland; and the 1992 slogan of Mladen Stilinović ‘An Artist Who Cannot Speak English Is no Artist’.  

 

So much of cultural understanding hinges on the practice of language, with the alphabet often the first symbols we are formally taught to recognise. While much can be lost between generations, I have chosen to create this tapestry using the same method as those in my family’s homeland – abstracted – depicting their Cyrillic alphabet as symbols to remember or forget.

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Future Inheritance 2021

Exhibition Install

Truce
Photos courtesy Tomas Friml

CONCRETE FABRIC

26.11.2019 - 16.02.2020

Glass Cube Gallery, Frankston Arts Centre

27-37 Daveys Street, Frankston AU

https://www.mcclellandgallery.com/

 

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Concrete Fabric is a satelite installation created as part of the exhibition Haus Werk: The Bauhaus in Contemporary Art at the McCLelland Sculpture Park+Gallery. Curated by Jane O'Neill with Simon Lawrie, Haus Werk forms part of the official 100jahrebauhaus program of events that celebrates the centenary of the Bauhaus in 2019. Including Australian and international contemporary artists and performers, Haus Werk affirms the relevance of methods first grounded in the Bauhaus, and explores the way these concepts have new applications across different locations and times.

 

Given the provisions of the unique Glass Cube at the Frankston Arts Centre I created a large-scale architectural weaving titled Concrete Fabric. This work consists of sheets of metal mesh, typically used for laying cement, covered in woven wool, which approaches the Bauhaus’ architectural principles from a weaver’s sensibilities, utilising industrial materials and maintaining an exposure of their raw qualities.

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Concrete Fabric 2019

Reinforced metal mesh and wool

8 x 1.8 m
Photo Christian Capurro 

BREAD + GAMES
22.08.2019 - 13.09.2019

Gallery Boot

328 Napier Street, Fitzroy AU
 

 

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Grid IV 2019

Baking rack and wool

45 x 35 cm
Photo Christo Crocker 

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Grid V 2019

Baking rack and wool

40 x 26 cm
Photo Christo Crocker 

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Concrete Fabric 2019

Industrialised metal mesh and wool

4 x 1.8 m
Photo Christo Crocker 

HANDHELD JUNCTURE

JORDAN MITCHELL-FLETCHER + JACQUELINE STOJANOVIC

29.06.2019 - 27.07.2019

Haydens

1/10-12 Moreland Road, Brunswick East AU

 

https://haydens.gallery/

Text by Katie Paine

 

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Handheld Juncture presents new work by Jacqueline Stojanovic and Jordan Mitchell-Fletcher. Merging practices of mosaic and tapestry, this exhibition unites their shared interest in craft and histories of the handmade. Exploring a myriad of themes around femininity, the binary of art and the artisan, and the inherent hierarchy of materials.

Accompanying text written by Katie Paine.

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Handheld Juncture 

2019

Installation views
Photo Christo Crocker 

PICTURES MADE OF WOOL

GROUP EXHIBITION CURATED BY JOHN NIXON

19.03.2019 - 23.03.2019

Studio 14 Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street, Preston South AU

 

 

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PIROT NOTES

19.03.2018 - 23.03.2018

The Workshop on Forster

Forsterstrasse 51, Berlin DE

https://workshop-on-forster.de/

 

 

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Pirot Notes comprises a body of work encapsulating a yearlong journey made overland from Central Asia to Serbia following the historical trade route and eventual introduction of carpet making to Pirot. During this time Stojanović learnt the art of carpet making and later created this series at the Icelandic Textile Centre in Blönduós, Iceland, where she was an artist in residence during November 2017. The work raises concerns about the preservation of tradition in modern society in drawing direct reference to the artists own ancestral link to Pirot ćilim weavers and the broader tradition of carpet making in Serbia.

 

Once a prosperous town in central Serbia, Pirot was home to many weavers, and as recent as 1965 over eighteen hundred women lived and weaved there. Now, sadly, only fifteen women practice the tradition of carpet making in Pirot, with the number in fast decline as rural youth continually migrate to larger cities and financial support nears non existence for this art form in the country. They are remembered and celebrated by an older generation and these days uncommon to find in the contemporary homes of Belgrade. Heavily influenced by Turkish designs the Pirot ćilims are recognised for their bold geometric patterns and distinctive bright colours. However, Stojanović aims not to replicate the designs used in traditional ćilims, but her series depicts the visual impressions left on the artist during her time spent in Serbia.

 

Blending traditional symbols and patterns of Pirot ćilims with the modern symbols seen everywhere on the streets of Belgrade Stojanović creates a visual conversation between the past and present. The rugs therefore employ traditional colours and are adorned with the common historical motifs of running water, hooks and stars, representing life, protection and prosperity, yet arranged subtly beside the motifs of favoured sports brands worn widely by Eastern European youth. The culture for sport in Serbia is infamous and Stojanović draws upon this aspect in her hand woven scarf titled  Self Support, merging the blatantly masculine sport culture of Serbia with the traditionally feminine act of weaving. Geometry is another key element utilised in Stojanović’s work, seen in both traditional ćilims and the aesthetic of urban Serbia’s socialist style  blokovi and architecture. The  Herringbone Parquet Rug is a direct association between the geometry of the old carpets and the geometry of the modern floors that are no longer covered by them.

 

In playing with these binaries of old and new,  Pirot Notes abstracts the dying art of Pirot carpets by incorporating contemporary symbolism. Ultimately questioning what there is to be lost for a cultures history in the discontinuation of tradition. Furthermore, given this work is made in an age where these ćilims value is displayed in the opposing binaries of ‘the souvenir shop’ in which most carpets are manufactured, and the heritage museum’ that may house the very last handmade carpets, Stojanović’s work alludes to a state of laxity within modern culture itself. A culture focused on an inevitable forward motion towards certain progress and the potential mistakes of abandoning its past.

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Pirot Notes 

2018

Installation views
Photo Joel Boardman