Connecting Threads

In our fast-paced world of electronic devices and digital communications, we can take for granted the soft, tactile world of textiles that is central to our daily lives. From cradle to grave, we are surrounded by fabric. We wrap our bodies in garments and blankets; we sleep on sheets and dry ourselves with towels; we envelop our homes with carpets and wall hangings. Fabrics of all types are part of our activities and environments. Artists recognize this commonplace and necessary role that textiles play both inside and outside the home.

Often associated with fashion or craft, textiles do not typically receive as much prominence in art museums as they deserve. Contemporary artists have long been creating astonishing works using fibre materials as a medium and exploring textiles as a subject.

Drawing from Surrey Art Gallery’s permanent collection, the textile artworks in this exhibition display a range of themes and styles: a knitted figurative sculpture; a map of Canada in the form of a quilt; needlepoint portraits of famous French philosophers; a stuffed sculpture meant to capture “dark matter” of quantum physics; and a deconstructed men’s suit made to look like a spider, inspired by Penelope in Homer’s classic book The Odyssey.

Explore these artworks and more that celebrate the human bond with nature, the deep relationship between the past and the present, and the importance of community and cross-cultural dialogue.

Artists: Inese Birstins, Pat Cairns, Elizabeth Carefoot, Roxanne Charles (with Feather Arnouse, Harley Chappell, Leann Wells, Samantha Wells, and Joan Williams), Barbara Cole, Barry Goodman, Adad Hannah, Robert Houle, Eva Kupczynski, Cora Li-Leger, Bettina Matzkuhn, Monika Napier, Robin Ripley, Diane Roy, Ruth Scheuing, Nep Sidhu, Margaret Sutherland, Barbara Todd