Artist Andrew Delaney likes the stories his work evokes.
His art, created from vintage fabrics and materials, is reminiscent of an intricate heirloom steeped in history and begs the viewer to move closer and inspect its evocative detail.
Delaney is a feature artist at this year’s CrossXpollinatioN fibre and textile art exhibition at COPACC and his work – The Time Heals Quilt, draws on the concept of the memorial quilt by the ‘ladies’ of Beaufort, South Georgia, 1866. Each square represents a loved one lost in the American Civil War.
His work has an old-world look and feel, and that’s very much the intention. Delaney wants viewers to perceive his work as historical memorabilia rather than art, to make it approachable rather than intimidating.
So determined is he to ensure his work is inviting he purposely leaves it without a label or a description, allowing the viewer to make their own interpretation and create their own meaning.
“Left guessing about the work it triggers questions; and in not giving context it makes people reflect using their own cultural references to give the work meaning,” he said.
Eight years ago, Delaney left his job to concentrate on his art full time. His work in the corporate events industry and on larger theatrical productions included everything from costumes and set designs and taught him all the old school theatrical applications and artifice.
Prior to that Delaney worked in retail visual merchandising in fashion and homewares for 10 years.
He started out creating gothic pieces making straightjackets and corsets that looked old and worn and had a faux history.
He says his work references craft techniques to convey a message, and he alludes to traditional techniques without being a slave to them or being trapped by them.
People often tell Delaney their stories in response to his work, and he likes the way they perceive his work as history and says it allows them to talk about the work and incorporate their own stories.
“The illusion of history is a technique that runs through the majority of my work which gives people a safe place to discuss art without thinking that it’s highbrow or intimidating,” he said.
“Accessing art shouldn’t be complicated. It’s supposed to make you feel things. It shouldn’t be hard. In allowing people to bring their own story to a work people will share their own stories and have very meaningful discussions about history, family and loss.
“Some of the best stories come out from people standing in front of a work.”
CrossXpollinatioN is on at the Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre from Friday 28 June until Wednesday 17 July. It is open from 10am to 4pm daily, and is proudly sponsored by Tarndie, Star Printing and the Baronga Motor Inn.