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At the heart of my practice is a commitment to the developmental.
I regard myself as an independent explorer of visual territories. The diversity of my contribution; exhibitions, commissions, research, teaching, curatorial, advocacy, writing and architectural consultancy illustrates the breadth of my involvement in the promotion of cross-disciplinary activity. Examples of my work have been regularly selected for textile, painting, glass, jewellery, sculpture, basketry, and paper exhibitions.
I’ve always been drawn to the border areas, the margins between disciplines, the points at which ideas overlap, blurring distinctions as to whether it’s a textile or sculpture, applied or fine art piece. Definitions of an area’s ideology are often a form of protectionism and control; I belong firmly to the what if school of thought.
I have pioneered, in my studio, an ambitious and challenging use of new techniques, materials and ideas, embracing analogue and digital technologies. I have persistently worked within contested areas of craft practice including pattern, embroidery, lace, floral and primal imagery. Sites that offer unbroken traditions cross cultural interventions and a freedom to work outside the mainstream.
I believe the most innovative work emanates from a synthesis of historical and contemporary sources, based upon an assured understanding of both comparative technique and historical precedent. Materials are imbued with both a practical and conceptual dimension, I’m interested in embedded content, how we build and enrich an idea. My works recognise no hierarchy in approach or discipline; my visual language is a synthesis of craft, painterly, design and sculptural traditions.
Visual artist, curator, lecturer, arts consultant, since 1979 he has occupied a central position in the research, origination and advocacy of contemporary international art textiles. He has exhibited in major galleries and museums world wide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.
His work can be seen in private, public and corporate collections worldwide. He won The Creative Concept Award in 1987 and The Fine Art Award in 1989 at the International Textile Competition in Kyoto, followed by the first RSA Art for Architecture Award 1990. In 1990 he was awarded a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, British Council, City University, Kyoto, Japan. In 1992 he was 1st Prize Winner at the 3rd International Betonac Prize in Belgium.
From 2001-08 he was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts in conjunction with the University of Ulster to research geometrical complexity in Central Asian textiles at Ulster University, Belfast. In 2007 he won the Fine Art Award, Phaff Art Embroidery Still Life in France. In 2013 he was awarded a residency in Australia through Craft ACT to work at the Namadgi National Park, Canberra.
In 1982 he curated the controversial exhibition ‘Fabric and Form’ and co-curated the ‘Makers Eye’ for the British Council & Crafts Council, followed in 1992 with ‘Restless Shadows’ a major Goldsmiths College touring exhibition of contemporary Japanese Textiles. Until 1989 he was a senior lecturer in the department of visual art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has taught extensively in Colleges and Universities in the UK and overseas, and has undertaken residencies in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Belgium.
Forever Changes a major retrospective of Michael Brennand-Wood’s practice was first shown at Ruthin Crafts Centre in 2012. Commissions include the development of an interdisciplinary arts programme for music venues, Ocean, in East London 1999 and Colston Hall in Bristol, 2009 and a series of metal screens for the Clinical Research Centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge 2016.