I had been in two minds about whether I really wanted to see this exhibition as the only things I knew about Dali had been gathered from poor quality prints in books. I knew that a lot of his work was surealistic, using challenging images and topics, and my ideas on art are relatively traditional, so I was sure I would not enjoy the exhibition. What I had not been prepared for was the amazing skill, talent and detail with which each piece had been executed.
Some of the topics may have been confronting but Dali was very serious about his work, creating numerous studies of his images before completing the final canvas. The fine lines, miniature detail and understanding of colour and light was obvious in every piece on show. He recommended that artists develop their skills by study the Masters, saying that if an artist did this he could challenge the conventional mores of the day by painting whatever he chose, and the work would still be respected.
This put me in mind of how we should look at patchwork and quilting.
When we start out we are told that there “rules” about how we should choose fabrics, cut them and piece the blocks when making quilts. However, once we understand how, & why, these rules were created we can choose which ones we are prepared to break to achieve our desired effect in our textile work.
When we start a new project it is a good idea to test the colour placement with a sample block before we cut the entire quilt and many textile artists go even further, developing their theme through several version.
The Dali exhibition closes on 4 October 2009. Find out more at: www.ngv.vic.gov.au