[Fallen Empire (2012)]
- Poetry and Place: Catalogue for the Poetry and Place Exhibition, Belconnen Art Centre, 25 August – 17 September 2017. ISBN 978-1-74088-460-0. (Canberra: University of Canberra, 2017).
- Korero: Poetry / Art Collaboration with Kirsty Black. Curated by Siobhan Harvey & Melissa Elliot (13 July - 2 August, 2012). (Howick: Uxbridge Creative Centre, 2012).
- Fallen Empire: Museum of True History in Collaboration with Karl Chitham and Jack Ross (20 June – 21 July 2012). (Dunedin: Blue Oyster Art Project Space, 2012).
- Lugosi’s Children, Curated by Bronwyn Lloyd (27 August – 1 October 2011). (Auckland: Objectspace, 2011) 2-3.
- One Brown Box: A Storybook Exhibition for Children, by Bronwyn Lloyd & Karl Chitham (6 November – 18 December 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0-9582811-8-8 (Auckland: Objectspace, 2010) 27-37.
- Len Castle. Mountain to the Sea: Ceramics / Poetry / Photographs. Ed. Tanya Wilkinson (Napier: Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery, 2008) 33.
: : Dianne Firth, Poetry and Place: Catalogue for the Poetry and Place Exhibition, Belconnen Art Centre, 25 August – 17 September 2017. Textile Works by Dianne Firth, based on works by Canberra poets Jen Webb, Merlinda Bobis, Paul Hetherington, Subhash Jaireth, Penelope Layland, Paul Munden, Jen Crawford and Wiradjuri poet Jeanine Leane; and, from overseas, poems by Pamela Beasant (Scotland), Katharine Coles (US), Philip Gross (UK), Alvin Pang (Singapore) and Jack Ross and Elizabeth Smither (NZ). ISBN 978-1-74088-460-0. Canberra: University of Canberra, 2017. 10:
Dianne Firth: Canberra Tales (Jack Ross)
Reviews & Comments:
- Helen Musa, "Arts / Dianne’s inspiration takes a lot of poetic licence." Canberra City News (August 30, 2017):
Dianne Firth’s large-format, textile interpretation of Scottish poet Pamela Beasant’s work “Canberra”
THE annual “Poetry on the Move” summit is one of the jewels in the crown of the University of Canberra, but last year’s event has led to a unique exhibition celebrating the beauty of our city.
It’s been a good year for former UC professor and textile artist Dianne Firth, who was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday awards and now her show, “Poetry and Place”, is at the Belconnen Arts Centre.
Inspired by her love of Canberra’s landscape and by contact with poets at the university’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, Firth invited poets from Australia and overseas who were in town for the summit to write about the beauty of our environment.
Some of them got carried away and came up with many poems. One British poet declined, Canberra was too far from the hedgerows of England.
Firth, in turn, undertook to create large-format textile artworks titled according to the poems, using quilting, embroidery and dyeing techniques. She completed 14 in all.
“I wanted equal numbers of Australian and overseas poets that would fit the gallery space,” she tells “CityNews”.
“It had to hang together as a coherent piece.”
From Canberra, she had words by Jen Webb, Merlinda Bobis, Paul Hetherington, Subhash Jaireth, Penelope Layland, Paul Munden, Jen Crawford and Wiradjuri poet Jeanine Leane. From overseas were poems by Pamela Beasant (Scotland), Katharine Coles (US), Philip Gross (UK), Alvin Pang (Singapore) and Jack Ross and Elizabeth Smither (NZ).
After retiring as a professor of landscape architecture in 2013, Firth joined the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, where there are lots of poets.
“It was exposure to different ways of dealing with creativity … architects work with industrial designers and have different ways of looking at the world,” she says.
“In seminars as people would read their poetry, I’d be ‘getting’ mood and colour and forms and shapes – their poems had a visual effect on me.”
Textile artist Dianne Firth’s interpretation of local poet Subhash Jaireth’s “Ngambri (Black Mountain) Walking with Kobayashi Issa’s Snail”
So when 2016’s “Poetry on the Move” came up, she talked to convener Paul Munden and head of research Jen Webb about the possibility of working through different media in response to the landscape in Canberra.
“As a landscape architect I see Canberra in a particular way, so I wanted to try to help other artists see Canberra.”
A long-time researcher, she headed to the National Library to read poetry about Canberra and found herself absorbed in some written by Judith Wright years ago where the birds were tweeting and the mist was rising over the valley.
“But I wanted to shift the focus. This is a city of design, and even Walter Burley Griffin responded to its visual and physical attributes – I told them that.
“I said to the visitors: ‘You’ve come to Canberra to visit, how did you experience nature?’ I left it with them.”
She was dumbstruck when one poet responded: “I don’t think I like this city very much,” explaining that he preferred hedgerows, gnarly trees and the patina of age.
“He was not able to see the landscape in the way I have been trained to.”
An expert in non-figurative design, she was astonished to find that the poems, when they came in, were full of people, so it was an artistic challenge to her to find “the emotional sweep that dictates colour and form and line.”
Some were clear.
Canberra, so pale and open widewrote Beasant, in marked contrast to Jaireth’s encounter with Black Mountain:
gardens groomed and architecture cool,
It’s no Mt. Fuji the mind scoffs but my body ignores the gibeOr the celebration in Leane’s:
Beneath this century of concrete circles/ancient eternal archives hold/ Stories, Songs, Dance, History.Some poems hit her between the eyes, but with others, she had to go away and sleep on them to get a visual form translatable into textiles.
Firth notes that in poetry there is a tradition of writing about artworks – Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” comes to mind – but she wanted to turn the concept back to front, to look at other ways of seeing the landscape of Canberra.
“Poetry and Place”, Belconnen Arts Centre, until September 17.
- Stephen R. Randall, "Poetry and Place - Dianne Firth @ Belconnen Arts Centre." stephenrrandall (August 29, 2017):
This exhibition has integrated fine Canberra focused artworks of Dianne Firth with matching poetry that illustrates and illuminates both Canberra and the artworks Ms Firth has created. The artworks are layered with fabric built on netting and many of them are views of the Canberra landscape seen through the trees that are all over our landscape.
Below are some samples of the art, the poems and the gallery sheet and prices.
: Korero: Poetry / Art Collaboration with Kirsty Black. Curated by Siobhan Harvey & Melissa Elliot (13 July - 2 August, 2012). (Howick: Uxbridge Creative Centre, 2012):
Kirsty Black: Except Once (2012)
Reviews & Comments:
- NZ Herald Events:
- Thu 12 Jul, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
- Fri 13 Jul, 9:00am – 4:00pm
- Sat 14 Jul, 9:30am – 2:00pm
- Mon 16 Jul, 9:00am – 4:00pm
- Tue 17 Jul, 9:00am – 4:00pm
- View all sessions
- Free Admission
This collaborative exhibition illustrates a fusion between visual art and poetry. 20 artists from various disciplines, select from 20 carefully chosen poems on the theme of conversation, to use as inspiration for their artwork.
The artists in the exhibition include Ingrid Anderson, Lisa Benson, Kirsty Black, Chris Dennis, Sue Dick, Matt Moriarty, Dom Morrison, Emily Pauling, Clinton Philips, Kirsten Pleitner, Ramon Robertson, Mark Russell, Kate Sellar, Brendon Sellar, Shona Tawhiao, Emma Topping, Wayne Trow, Jana Wood and Nicola Wright.
The poets include Peter Bland, Albert Wendt, Riemke Ensing, Bernard Gadd, Sarah Broom, Robert Sullivan, Nicholas Reid, Jo Emeney, Sonja Yelich, Vivienne Plumb, Paula Green, Sue Reidy, Charles Hadfield, Jack Ross, Gus Simonovic, Maris O’Rourke and Siobhan Harvey.
This exhibition is in memory of local poet Bernard Gadd. His son David Gadd, will award $1,000 to the best piece of art. Join us on opening night for a mulled wine and a vibrant and energetic evening of visual art and poetry readings.
: Fallen Empire: Maui in the Underworld, Kupe & the Fountain of Youth, Hatupatu & the Nile-monster: Three Play-Fragments from the Literary Remains of The Society of Inner Light. Attributed to Bertolt Wegener. Edited with an introduction by Jack Ross. Museum of True History in Collaboration with Karl Chitham and Jack Ross (20 June – 21 July 2012). Dunedin: Blue Oyster Art Project Space, 2012. 1-46:
Maui in the Underworld
Kupe & the Fountain of Youth
Hatupatu & the Nile-monster:
from the literary remains of
The Society of Inner Light
Edited with an introduction
by Jack Ross
Blue Oyster Art Project Space (1):
Karl Chitham & Dr Jack Ross, Fallen Empire (20/6-21/7/12)
Blue Oyster Art Project Space (2):
Chris Hargreaves, Serenity (20/6-21/7/12)
Blue Oyster Art Project Space (3):
Caroline McQuarrie, Artifact (20/6-21/7/12)
Works & Days
: Lugosi’s Children, Curated by Bronwyn Lloyd (27 August – 1 October 2011). (Auckland: Objectspace, 2011) 2-3:
Mosehouse Studio (21/8/11)
Mosehouse Studio (11/9/11)
The Imaginary Museum (16/8/11)
The Imaginary Museum (22/9/11)
: One Brown Box: A Storybook Exhibition for Children, by Bronwyn Lloyd & Karl Chitham (6 November – 18 December 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0-9582811-8-8 (Auckland: Objectspace, 2010) 27-37:
A Short History of Fairytales
The Imaginary Museum (27/10/10)
The Imaginary Museum (5/11/10)
The Imaginary Museum (19/11/10)
One Brown Box (2010)
Reviews & Comments:
- Graeme Beattie, "One Brown Box: A Storybook Exhibition for Children,” by Bronwyn Lloyd and Karl Chitham. Beattie's Book Blog (November 3, 2010):
In this exhibition, designed primarily for children, Bronwyn Lloyd and Karl Chitham treat the humble brown box as a plain structure with unlimited imaginative potential while at the same time bringing together two of their primary enthusiasms: making up stories and making objects from paper and cardboard.
One Brown Box is made up of adaptations of five classic children’s stories including The Princess and the Pea, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Hansel and Gretel, each told from the perspective of overlooked, minor and absent characters from the original tales, illustrated with large and small models made entirely from boxes and paper.
- "One Brown Box: A Storybook Exhibition for Children,” by Bronwyn Lloyd and Karl Chitham. The Big Idea (November 23, 2010):
The exhibition of adapted tales is supplemented by a huge ‘I Spy’ game with objects galore and a display of folktales and fairytales from the collection of writer and bibliophile, Jack Ross, who has compiled a short history of the fairytale genre detailing the fascinating origins of these stories that are now so familiar to us.
- Matt Blomeley, "Objective lessons: A Review of the 2010 Objectspace Programme. Objectspace (December 16, 2010):
One Brown Box: a storybook exhibition for children was a unique and charming exhibition that closed out the 2010 calendar, centred on fairy tales and the creative possibilities inherent within the humble and ubiquitous brown cardboard box.
: Len Castle. Mountain to the Sea: Ceramics / Poetry / Photographs. Ed. Tanya Wilkinson (Napier: Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery, 2008) 33: