Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia 1931 – Braidwood, New South Wales, Australia 2001
1972 Description: woven hanging
Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: textiles, wall hangings, woven wool and cotton wool and cotton: woven and assembled
Textile artist Mona Hessing was born in Sydney and trained in design before working as a design consultant from 1953 to 1965. She lived in India during 1967–68, designing and weaving a large tapestry in New Delhi, a commission that extended her technical and design vocabulary and gave her experience in large-scale textile work. Her subsequent work in Australia placed her in the forefront of innovative textile practice, particularly in the area of interior design and architectural work. Using a vivid colour palette, inspired by her experience with Indian textiles, she combined flat and textured knotted weaves in large tapestries that complemented the bold geometry and texture of Australian public architecture of the 1970s. Her smaller works were in perfect harmony with the revolution in domestic architecture of the period, particularly those designed in the romantic and open style of the Sydney school.
Hessing’s work was in the vanguard of those who showed the possibilities for the inclusion of modern crafts in architecture, a trend that had been popularised through post-war Scandinavian and American design, but which had been undeveloped in Australia until the late 1960s. This work is freed from the traditional wall placement of tapestry and slices in arcs through open space and onto the floor. Its sense of movement is enhanced by its bold chevron patterning, reminiscent of traffic direction markers and the graphic Op Art of the period.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002