Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Michael O'Connell - The Lost Modernist

Professor Harriet Edquist launched her latest book Michael O'Connell - The Lost Modernist tonight at Embiggen Books. Michael O'Connell's son Seamus flew into Australia this week from England to attend the book launch and opening of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s exhibition. He spoke providing insights into Michael and in particular he expressed his appreciation to Harriet for this recognition of his fathers career. He spoke about retrieving boxes of material from the attic and how he could almost see the project emerge in Harriet's eyes.  I have had the pleasure of seeing this project evolve since 2009 whilst working with Harriet in the RMIT Design Archives.

Michael O'Connell The Lost Modernist by Harriet Edquist.

Professor Harriet Edquist launches her latest book on textile designer Michael O'Connell.

Professor Harriet Edquist signs a copy of her latest book Michael O'Connell - The Lost Modernist.

Book launch at Embiggen Books for Michael O'Connell - The Lost Modernist.

Michael O'Connell - The Lost Modernist by author Harriet Edquist designed by Sean Hogan of Trampoline.


Bendigo Art Gallery
26 November - 19 February

The lost modernist examines the work of British/Australian textile artist Michael O’Connell. Born in Cumbria in 1898 O’Connell moved to Australia in 1920. Over the following 17 years he became a critical member of the burgeoning Modernist movement in Melbourne. 

O’Connell, a member of the Arts and Crafts Society of Melbourne, made an enormous contribution to the development of modernism in Australia through his innovative and dynamic textiles. On his return to the UK in 1937, O’Connell became a key figure in contemporary textile design, working with renowned textile manufacturer Heals. O’Connell was also commissioned to produce the celebrated Festival of Britain wall hangings in 1951, which are now in the collection of the Museum of English Rural Life, Reading.

The exhibition has been co-curated by Professor Harriet Edquist, Director, Design Archives RMIT University and Tansy Curtin, Senior Curator, Bendigo Art Gallery. 

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