Fassett Burnett textiles
Wall Hanging and Untitled.
Fassett Burnett is one of the few New Zealand artists in the University of Canberra Art Collection. Born in 1932 (though one account mentions 1933) in Auckland, this artist covered many forms and disciplines of art. Although he his best known for his paintings and prints, it is his designs in the use of batik textiles which make him so remarkable. It is believed that Fassett like to explore and create with new art forms and batik was just such a form having been discovered from its centre of origin, Java, Indonesia. Fasset's works were exhibited in the Narek Gallery Canberra in the early 1970s where they caught the attention of staff at the newly formed Canberra College of Advanced Education.
Batik as an art-form and process involves decorating cloth using wax and dye. It is a form that has been in use for centuries in Java, Indonesia. The name 'batik' derives from the process or 'tik' which means literally 'to dot'. To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour. This process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated to create more elaborate and colourful designs. After the final dyeing the wax is removed and the cloth is ready for wearing or showing.
The Works of Art
Wall-Hanging is a large textile, about 265cm by 160cm high and depicts a scene of an indigenous figure dancing through grass with other figures silluetted around the main figure. Alternatively, the figures could be totem forms which, forms part of the ritual being depicted.
The second textile, which is untitled,, demonstrates the versatile nature of batik. The cloth has a floral pattern of leaves and berries picked out in a deep red on a dark background. It is an example of a very decorative work of art.