Jane Kidd – Winner of the 2016 Saidye Bronfman Award

 

 

Jane Kidd. Land Sentence: Zoo 2012. 99 cm x 200 cm. Woven Tapestry, wool, rayon, cotton. Collection: Salt Spring Public Library. Photo: Janet Dwyer

Jane Kidd. Land Sentence: Zoo 2012. 99 cm x 200 cm. Woven Tapestry, wool, rayon, cotton. Collection: Salt Spring Public Library. Photo: Janet Dwyer

Tapestry, that ancient and refined form, is celebrated with this year’s Saidye Bronfman Award (one of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts).

But Jane Kidd’s tapestries are not the typical Medieval encapsulations of courtly love or Renaissance scenes of classical mythology. Kidd makes very contemporary textile statements drawing on science and technology, the natural environment, and the current place of humans in an increasingly fragile world. All the same, Kidd’s use of the demanding and meticulous technique of tapestry-making produces important parallels with the past. As independent scholar Amy Gogarty says in her article on Kidd in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Studio: “Tackling [these] issues, her work is both beautiful and profound.” Gogarty continues

“Historically, on the basis of patronage…traditional tapestry is associated with the symbolic order, patriarchy and Fine Art, in opposition to textiles used in the everyday—clothing, blankets and cloth. These latter materials are often aligned with the body, the maternal and the feminine in contemporary textile and feminist practice. Kidd views contemporary tapestry as an important bridge between an elite practice identified with Fine Art and the mass of textile production associated with the body, and, thus, it is uniquely positioned to comment on issues arising from these interests. Her compelling and thoughtful analysis of tapestry … has contributed importantly to the growing body of discourse shaping contemporary craft.”

Jane Kidd Portrait

In 2010 Kidd returned to her native BC after teaching in the Fibre department of the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary for thirty years. Now Kidd focuses on her tapestries, developing and advancing her practices that she values for the inherent reward of labour-intensive hand processes. Whether questioning gendered and social assumptions about textile work or wondering about the state of human technology in the natural environment, Jane Kidd is an excellent example of a 21st century maker positioning material making at the centre of the discussions about our contemporary world.