MARJORIE COLEMAN — Lyrical Stitch: a solo retrospective exhibition that reflected the evolution of Marjorie’s work over five decades was held at the Holmes à Court Gallery Western Australia, 17th October until 28th November 2020.
Marjorie Coleman is now in her nineties, and with contemporary hand stitching as her medium she continues to produce rich evocative pieces that represent her ideas and experiences. Her textile works are the product of a sharp intellect, astute observation, and empathy with her subject matter. As she takes pleasure from working with cloth and stitches, we are the fortunate ones to benefit from her vision.
My quilts are contemplative; I am not in a hurry. I have come to understand that I am what I am and must make what is within...
I first encountered Marjorie Coleman’s artwork in 2019 at the survey exhibition, Following the Thread, Let the Cloth Speak. This show was highly recommended by a number of friends, and for good reason. On display was an exquisite array of stitched works with a mesmerising level of detail.
I was captivated by the richness and diversity of subjects pictured and ideas explored across nature and culture. Indeed, I quickly became aware that Marjorie stitches ideas; spanning from scientific theories including quantum mechanics, and literary visions, to image catalogues of things to remember and illustrations of the simple stuff of everyday existence.The works in this show offered insights into Marjorie’s bright mind and curious attitude towards life and the world that surrounds her.
For the Janet Holmes à Court Collection, I acquired a delicate white on white silk organza work titled Full Fathom Five. This piece references Shakespeare but it also has a personal connection to Marjorie’s passion for snorkelling. It pictures an underwater scene of lyrically arranged sea creatures, corals and plants. This piece, and other works by Marjorie, has a rhythmic quality about it, as well as a vibrancy and a curiosity, as though a passion for living is channeled through needle and thread to be crafted into finely detailed needlework of incredible pictorial compositions. Following this exhibition, it was a logical progression to invite Marjorie to have a solo exhibition at the Holmes à Court Gallery. It is my great pleasure to welcome the works to the gallery walls and to take part in a celebration of the treasure that is Marjorie Coleman.
The 192-page publication MARJORIE COLEMAN — Lyrical Stitch launched at her 2020 Holmes à Court @ No. 10 Exhibition of the same name. The book includes important works not available for the exhibition, a selection of Marjorie’s musings and poetry, a complete visual index of Marjorie’s artworks, and comprehensive Curriculum Vitae; also included is a Foreword by Janet Holmes à Court, as well as Essays by Grace Cochrane, Wendy Lugg, and Belinda von Mengersen.
Publications are available for AU$50 plus postage.
Please email [email protected] for information on obtaining a copy.
In quilts, as indeed in life, I like zany but dislike slapdash. I like devil-may-care but dislike hooligan. I have always felt that copying patterns which reproduce overseas images was not for me. I represent my own country and what I see around me.I prefer to intrigue rather than to excite and perhaps even this tells of a particular temperament set in a particular time.
My thread is wandering through things of land, sea and air. The notion that everything alive is linked to everything alive is a theme I have used in other works. The driving passions of many lives…the land, work, family and the notion of the sacred.
Support from the Government of Western Australia; Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
Janet Holmes à Court AC and the Holmes à Court Gallery
Marjorie would like to record that the idea of the book, the generosity, expertise and energy of this team brought it on. Sophie Coleman, Margery Goodall, Cherry Johnston, Marian Magee, Jan Mullen, Bewley Shaylor, Wendy Lugg.