On Wednesday, 8 November at 6pm, in the four grand walls of Alpha60’s Chapter House space, the Melbourne duo will launch a very special collaboration with Newcastle based artist, and recipient of the 2014 Brett Whiteley Traveling Art Scholarship, James Drinkwater.
The designers, Georgie and Alex Cleary, along with James, will be joined by Wendy Whiteley who will wear a custom-made ensemble for the occasion.
“We flew to Sydney to meet with Wendy and James, and over lunch in Lavender Bay, we talked about the collaboration, her connection to James, and her prodigious penchant for headdress,” says Georgie.
“A good collaboration is when there is synergy - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We feel this is very much the outcome of the James Drinkwater x Alpha60 collaboration. The process and working with James was a pleasure… we’re very excited about it,” continues Alex.
James sees the amalgamation of art and design an intrinsic union but one that can be lost in a fast-paced consumer and trend driven world. Combined with Alpha60’s affection for art and history, with James, they were able to explore the existentialist nature of art.
“Art elicits a link between expression and meaning, and leads to a major re-evaluation of the notion of style,” ends Georgie.
The collaboration was inspired by Drinkwater’s fascination with exploring a multitude of application techniques through sculptural silhouettes, assemblage of objects and textiles, language and movement.
"The drawings I made for Alpha60 are recollections of my time earlier this year in the French Polynesia. The flora and fauna, the people, textiles and objects - signifying elements that have been recomposed and re-contextualised to create a new body of work,” James recounts.
“The idea of my visual language projected onto fabric is one that intrigued me. My iconography encasing the figure in movement. Fabric like paint is unpredictable, the way it shifts and falls…”
“For this project I simplified the marks and reduced the palette, it was all about finding the right translation. After much investigation a series of gestural ink drawings emerged," says James.
The collaborators made a conscious decision to present the collection as a capsule of signature pieces, so as not to oversaturate the application of the drawings.