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Work by the late Queensland quiltmaker Ruth Stoneley honoured in exhibition
Ruth Stoneley (Australia 1940–2007), A woman’s work is never done 1996. Plain and printed cottons, hand-quilted, embellished with beads, buttons, glitter, ribbons, sequins. Stoneley Family Collection.

BRISBANE.- Vibrant, expressive quilts which challenge the perceived separation of art and craft are featured in a free exhibition of work by the late leading Brisbane quiltmaker Ruth Stoneley at the Queensland Art Gallery from July 13 to October 7, 2013.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said ‘Ruth Stoneley: A Stitch in Time’, presented in the Glencore-Xstrata Queensland Artists’ Gallery, showcases exemplary works by the artist, and provide a contemporary and local counterpoint to the exhibition ‘Quilts 1700–1945’ from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, now showing at QAG.

‘The exhibition tracks Stoneley’s transition from early experimentation with the contained patterns of traditional quiltmaking to later abstract and expressive works which reflected feelings and ideas about herself and the world around her,’ Mr Saines said.

‘Among the highlights are an early quilt from the Gallery’s Collection, It’s not all sweetness and light 1983, created from cream commercial cotton and red glazed chintz, and a series of startling black quilts, including a major piece from the Tamworth Regional Gallery, Mystery 1984, and Starting over 1991, one of many works loaned by the Stoneley family.’

Mr Saines said Stoneley was an inspirational figure, not only for her innovative work, but as an active member of the Brisbane quilting community.

‘Connecting with other quilters through her Highgate Hill shop Patchwork Supplies, Ruth was part of a strong network of makers and she was an active mentor and teacher to many local practitioners,’ he said.

‘We’re delighted to present this exhibition as part of the Glencore-Xstrata Queensland Artists’ Gallery program, an ongoing partnership with Glencore-Xstrata that enables QAGOMA to tell the stories of important Queensland artists.’

Spanning almost 30 years, works in the exhibition include 20 art quilts and a selection of outfits, teaching pieces and ephemera. Three quilts by Stoneley from the Queensland Art Gallery Collection are featured alongside loans from the Stoneley family and Tamworth Regional Gallery.

Ruth Stoneley was born in Monto, Queensland, in 1940 and was entirely self-taught as an artist. She committed herself to quilting full-time from 1982, and worked prolifically until her death in 2007.

Stoneley exhibited widely in Australia and internationally, including shows in Japan, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and the United States, where she also travelled after winning a Churchill Fellowship.

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