Aspects of contemporary Australian craft and design
Brian Hirst Flat form – Teal 2001 blown glass with gold, silver and copper foil, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia has collected the best of Australian craft and design for several decades and, in recent years, in line with a review of all its collecting areas, a department of Decorative Arts and Design was established. The Gallery was delighted when Robert Bell accepted the post of curator. He is widely regarded as one of the most expert and experienced in his field. In the exhibition, Material Culture: Aspects of contemporary Australian craft and design, the Gallery presents many recent acquisitions. Together in an exhibition, they offer an excellent overview of the range and quality of contemporary Australian craft and design.
Material Culture focuses on recent works in ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, jewellery and metal. It illustrates, through themes of structure, narrative and transformation, the ways that some of Australia's most highly regarded object designers and craft practitioners are expressing and giving meaning to our material culture.
We hope that the exhibition will challenge perceptions about the nature of objects and their place in the Australian cultural landscape. There can be no doubt that Australia has benefited hugely from the diversity of its practitioners and their broad range of backgrounds, many being immigrants to Australia from around the world.
The National Gallery of Australia is committed to the display of the best of the visual arts across all media. Our displays seek to integrate many different kinds of objects, and to link the best of Australian art with that of the wider world. I congratulate Robert Bell, and all involved, on an important and timely contribution celebrating contemporary Australian material culture.
Dr Brian Kennedy
Director, National Gallery of Australia