Todd Robinson is a practitioner and researcher with an internationally recognised practice traversing fashion and sculpture. His practice is located alongside practices and strategies that have arisen over the last decade within design, art and contemporary craft whose processes arise from material based technical concerns for imaging new possibilities for the designed object. Robinson’s practice draws attention to the inherent anthropomorphic basis of human-object relationships utilising elements traditionally associated with textiles, drapery and clothing such as creases, folds and texture in sculptural form.
He transitioned from a career as an award winning mens fashion designer entering academia to pursue practice-based research. At UTS, Todd was Director Fashion & Textiles, 2013 -2019 leading an internationally regarded program all aspects including teaching and learning, research and external engagement. He teaches across first, third year and honours year and undertakes research supervision at both Masters and Doctoral level.
He has developed an interdisciplinary approach working across design research , arts practice and scholarship exploring the inter-relationships between the body, materiality and visuality. His research has been published in Fashion Theory while his practice has received widespread international recognition having participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions and projects in Australia, China, Europe and the United States. He has completed significant public art commissions in China and most recently Goulburn, Australia and his works are held in the public collections of Ipswich Art Gallery, Queensland; National Gallery of Victoria; Artbank; and Woollahra Council.
Can supervise: YES
Robinson’s research interests stem from long-term engagement with issues of fashion and the body informed by his experiences working as a fashion designer in the 1990s and early 2000s. His doctorate completed in 2018 titled Soma Poiesis: An exploration of the redirective potential of somatic experiences in fashion was a practice-based exploration of embodiment in fashion. The research investigated the processes of sartorial embodiment in fashion by undertaking close readings of micro-corporeal movements of the dressed body using digital technology. Current research focuses on practice oriented methods, approaches and frameworks for the exploration of embodied experience. Most recently he published work on the notion of 'Poise' in Fashion Theory. See Robinson, T. (2019). Attaining Poise: A Movement-based Lens Exploring Embodiment in Fashion. Fashion Theory, 23(3), 441-458.
Men’s Collection 83821
Thinking Fashion 83119
Fashion Cultures 83231
Research Disseration 83921
Robinson, T 2019, 'Attaining Poise: A Movement-based Lens Exploring Embodiment in Fashion', Fashion Theory - Journal of Dress Body and Culture, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 441-458.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article makes a case for increased dialogue between the visual-, sensory-, and material-based methods currently available within social research and modes of socio-cultural enquiry typically used in fashion studies. Its aim is to demonstrate that studies of embodiment in fashion can be enriched by approaches that integrate the making and use of fashion garments as well as the tactile and kinesthetic experiences of bodies that wear them in investigations of embodied experience. The article outlines a movement-based perspective developed with reference to a series of participatory activities best described as “sartorial sessions.” When combined with digital video technology, these sessions make it possible to read the sartorial movements of the body with a precision unavailable to unmediated perception. The article demonstrates the way visual-, material-, and sensory-based empirical work in embodiment opens new ways to understand and explore the body in fashion. The article concludes by introducing Poise, a dynamic modality which realizes a shift in focus from cultural analysis of the body towards explorations of the body in fashion as an adaptive and sensory structure.
A republication of the essay cowritten with Todd Robinson for the exhibiton, Public Fitting, discussing the crossover of art and fashion via painting.
Robinson, TM 2012, 'Back to the future', Manuscript, vol. 1, no. 4, Spring 12, pp. 1-1.
The other day I happened to look through a box I had. It was brown cardboard, with partially collapsed sides, small tears and creases all over. It contained the sort of stuff you decide to keep at one phase of your life or what appears like a phase now, when I look through the box. Stuff that was at that time important for different reasons, for the most part unclear to me now. Something more indistinct than reason, more affect or atmosphere. When I look over the contents of the box as a whole, itâs an odd mix from a just pre-digital world, torn out pages from magazines, small square photographs cut out of contact sheets, pieces of fabric, creased photocopied images. There is one image from a magazine. It is cut neatly, although one corner is ripped and patches remain brown where adhesive tape has lifted parts of the image. It was at the time, maybe around 1995 or 1996, a contemporary image and like all fashion images it is really about a moment, but looking back it seems to sit outside time. Not quite 1996, more a slippery ambiguous masculinity ushered in by Hedi Slimaneâs Dior some 5 or so years later. There is a faintly aristocratic feel while at the same time reminiscent of seventies Bowie, androgynous and sensual. The work as far as I recall is by the now defunct menswear label SO, designed by Dutchman Alexander van Slobbe. I remember cutting this image from an ID magazine and sticking it on my wall. It floated around for years, on walls, in journals, an isolated emblem. When I return to this image now after all this time, it appears to challenge the notion we have of generations. That is, the way one generation cedes to another that follows. It is not the disparity between now and what was then, but more the continuities or what remains. The image remains to me timely, prescient. In practice there are no clear dividing lines. I think itâs more productive to think of cultural practices, with fashion being one of them as discontinuous, irregular, patch...
Robinson, TM 2012, 'Look at me, don't look at me', Manuscript, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 87-87.
Look at me, Donât look at me. To be walking is to be seen, it is to be in public, and available to the gaze of others. While walking we are also looking, that is looking and being looked at. There are multiple dimensions to this â since the advent of the modern city, fashionable precincts often carry a tension held in the visual. These zones provide an opportunity for men to look, examine and even scrutinise the dress of other men; the tension emerging in the visual exchange. Figuratively speaking two men, the flÃ¢neur and the dandy stroll past each other on a city street. Via the ensuing exchange of discriminating glances I would like to explore how vestiges of these important fashionable figures can be found in any metropolitan city street today. Born of 19th century Paris, the flÃ¢neur was a well-dressed gentleman, who walked without haste and was led by the visual lures of a then incipient modern metropolis. Ambling through the newly built Passages couverts de Paris (covered shopping arcades), galleria, public parks and squares the flÃ¢neur was distinguished by an excessively leisurely pace and a complete abandonment to the aesthetic visual pleasures of urban life. The flÃ¢neur would be pursuing no particular end nor making his way to any particular destination, but would be completely absorbed in a kind of visual reverie. According to the poet Baudelaire (who did the most to fashion this modern, mythic hero) the flÃ¢neur could quite paradoxically lose and find himself in the faces of passers-by, their fashionable dress, in building facades, advertisements and the new, seductively displayed goods found in shop windows. The flÃ¢neurâs walking was not merely an aimless stroll but an opportunity to see and be seen. The walk itself, its pace, its cadence, communicated the idleness, and decadence of pointless, albeit adroitly stylised activity. Along with the dandy he elevates what might be considered a mundane activity to something of an art form. Dandies wou...
Robinson, TM 2012, 'Look at me, Don't look at me', Manuscript, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 1-1.
To be walking is to be seen, it is to be in public, and available to the gaze of others. While walking we are also looking, that is looking and being looked at. There are multiple dimensions to this â since the advent of the modern city, fashionable precincts often carry a tension held in the visual. These zones provide an opportunity for men to look, examine and even scrutinise the dress of other men; the tension emerging in the visual exchange. Figuratively speaking two men, the flÃ¢neur and the dandy stroll past each other on a city street. Via the ensuing exchange of discriminating glances I would like to explore how vestiges of these important fashionable figures can be found in any metropolitan city street today. Born of 19th century Paris, the flÃ¢neur was a well-dressed gentleman, who walked without haste and was led by the visual lures of a then incipient modern metropolis. Ambling through the newly built Passages couverts de Paris (covered shopping arcades), galleria, public parks and squares the flÃ¢neur was distinguished by an excessively leisurely pace and a complete abandonment to the aesthetic visual pleasures of urban life. The flÃ¢neur would be pursuing no particular end nor making his way to any particular destination, but would be completely absorbed in a kind of visual reverie. According to the poet Baudelaire (who did the most to fashion this modern, mythic hero) the flÃ¢neur could quite paradoxically lose and find himself in the faces of passers-by, their fashionable dress, in building facades, advertisements and the new, seductively displayed goods found in shop windows. The flÃ¢neurâs walking was not merely an aimless stroll but an opportunity to see and be seen. The walk itself, its pace, its cadence, communicated the idleness, and decadence of pointless, albeit adroitly stylised activity. Along with the dandy he elevates what might be considered a mundane activity to something of an art form. Dandies would self-consciously orchestrate...
Robinson, TM 2012, 'The White Shirt', Manuscript, vol. 1, no. 1.
THE WHITE SHIRT The classic white shirt is both an object and an ideal. Of the multitude of garments in the male wardrobe, none is as definitive as the white shirt. White comes first, then all others. Shirts of colour tend to be in some way only versions of the singular white. This inverted logic of difference means in order to distinguish a white shirt in any way we require some kind of method by which to do so. Distinction can begin by considering the shirt as a typology of forms, starting with the collar, which can spread, boned or soft, or buttoned down; the cuffs can be of a single band, turned-back, round or mitred, double or single buttoned; the fit full, narrow or shaped, and so on. Perhaps a more complete assessment might be possible through finely grained, lets say micro, perceptions. Only so much is discernible to the eye when faced with white on white. The artist Marcel Duchamp, an elegant man against the measure of any fashionable standard, proposed the beguiling term infra-mince. For Duchamp, infra-mince is the distance or interval between two things and is so compelling he is said to have dedicated ten years to its exploration. Despite leaving us to ponder such a notion with little in the way of explanation, he proffered a number of tantalising examples: the sound of corduroy rubbing together; the space between two sheets of paper; and the difference between a shirt, new then washed. I have always imagined this shirt as white. The architect Le Corbusier compared the white shirt to whitewashed walls, arguing these screens liberate a new, hitherto unseen modern body behind it. Paradoxically, when it comes to the white shirt, Duchamp's somewhat puzzling experiments bring us back to the sensuousness of the perceptible that Le Corbusier was so keen to dispose of. Tactile perception is most suited to bring out out the real promise of the white shirt: a pinch of cloth taken up between two fingers, the friction of the weave against the finger tips a...
Robinson, TM & Storer, R 2001, 'Do words and clothes go together', les substance masculines, vol. 1, no. 1.
Male Culture Biannual
Robinson, TM 2015, 'Re: Viewing Fashion: A digital materiality of the moving image', Tangible Means: Experiential knowledge through materials, International Conference of the DRS Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge (EKSIG), Design School Kolding, Denmark., Kolding, pp. 48-58.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The paper addresses the development of a digital-visual methodology to examine the sensuous and embodied dimension of fashion. The paper discusses the conception and use of designed garments called DRESS+. Body-garment interactions are the central focus of this research, conceived as participatory activities generating a range of physical
movements including behaviour, gestures and utterances for visual and thematic enquiry. This approach is presented in relation to Design Probes and emergent new media forms notably Fashion film. The paper considers two video case studies. The paper utilizes a phenomenological
orientation and research from the field of Body Studies, specifically the notion of Affect. The studies seek to bring the materiality of the garment into view. Materiality is considered not in isolation, but in its reciprocity with the human body. In this regard, materiality is conceived in
terms of the responsiveness of the human body and the potential for research participants to embody garments. I outline the research design, including discussion of the design instruments as well as a
discussion of their methodological rationale. The video studies are undertaken as a visual
enquiry into the interaction between designed fashion garments and human beings. I discuss these in terms of the way in which they visualize the materiality of the fashion garment in relation to micro-corporeal movement. The studies provide an alternative to conventional representational treatments of the body in fashion; particularly the way bodies and garments are shown in lived-body time. They run counter to the dominant representations of fashionable bodies as symbolic, immaterial and a-temporal. I conclude the paper with discussion on the significance of the bodies depicted in the visual studies.
The studies critically respond to the way in which habitual and embodied aspects of dress practices are largely absent in the field of fashion studies. I argue in the context of the rese...
Robinson, TM 2013, 'Bringing Action into View: Provocation and Ambiguity in Touch and Talk sessions', Proceedings of the International Conference 2013 of the Design Research Society Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge, International Conference of the Design Research Society Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK., pp. 1-12.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a research approach to investigate the body styles, embodied engagements and physical activity that designers bring to their creative work. The approach utilizes a set of designed objects in the context of the study termed `Provocative artefacts'. These are under-determined three dimensional artefacts designed to elicit designerly ways of acting and moving in participatory research situations called Touch and talk sessions. This approach is grounded in shared knowledge of both the researcher and participants within the research sessions. The paper raises questions to be addressed by this approach in relation to a designer's embodied ways of knowing: What is the body style designers utilise when they engage in the interpretive work of design? And secondly, what is the significance of this body style to the iterative, projective and interpretive work of designing? The broader aim of the study is to extend understanding of design action as embodied ways of knowing that are distinctive to the creative work of design. By placing emphasis on what designers do, that is the physical interactions with designed objects and how they interact with other designers in naturalistic research situations, the research brings into focus the inseparability of bodily comportment, practical activity and emergent understanding within the iterative projection of design possibilities.
Robinson, TM 2011, 'A Case Study: Articulating Embodied Practice with Poise', Proceedings - SkinDeep - experiential knowledge and multi sensory communication, Conference of the DRS Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge, University of Creative Arts, UK., Farnham Castle, United Kingdom, pp. 1-18.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Abstract: In this paper I will examine the role artefacts play in the context of a practice-based research project. Alone artefacts would not constitute research but I will present a Case Study examining how a self-produced single artefact, named PULLEY SAC became a compelling artefact within my design practice. The study revolves around a first person account of the context in which the PULLEY SAC emerged within practice. I pay particular attention to the phenomena of noticing, whereby particular aspects of a current activity show up as significant against a background of ongoing creative practice and articulation, which draws out through reflective writing background aspects of the practice pertinent to the researcher. The study examines the way PULLEY SAC enabled me to articulate important aspects of creative practice by pointing to how the artefact is taken up in bodily engagement and how it emerged through practice. I will discuss practice as an embodied and receptive mode of experiencing that enabled me to be drawn into the contingencies of a making situation, extended it so to resolve it in a way that was consistent with my particular mode of creative practice. In the second part of the paper I extend the Case Study to examine creative practice in relation to the notion Poise developed by Samuel Todes. Here I argue the practitioner-researcher take up a location within practice rather than without in order to draw out significant aspects of skilled practice as a mode of receptivity encompassing both somatic awareness and artefactual engagement.
Robinson, TM 2010, 'Thematizing Change: Creativity, Dynamic Practices and Sustainability', Fashion: Sustainability and Creativity, Conference Proceedings, International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institute, 12th Annual Conference, Taipei, Annual Conference of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes, International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institute (IFFTI), Taipei, Taiwan, pp. 276-287.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Sustainable fashion seeks to bring about change in the way we carry out our practices. Such a change requires a reconsideration of what constitutes change. Creativity, as understood in the field of design, is commonly understood to be an object-focused activity with associations to innovation, aesthetic distinction and originality. Creative fashion is often viewed as the ability of fashion designers to produce fashion garments of distinction, originality and beauty. The extent to which those engaged in fashion design aspire to these forms of distinction means other possible courses of change-oriented action may remain unexamined. This paper brings into relief two contrasting notions of fashion creativity, one concerned primarily with the fashion garment, the other focussed on more exploratory and experimental fashion activity.
Robinson, TM 2018, 'wringing core ( i am letting go completely)', Sculpture Salon, Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney.
Wringing Core (I am letting go completely)
wood 90 x 10 x 10cm
Robinson, TM 2018, 'Wringing core (we are letting go completely)', Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
6 vertical timber objects
each approximately 90cm x 10cm x 10cm
Robinson, TM 2017, 'Oooh Aaah (sunken plaza)', Sculpture commission, Nanjing Yuhua E-Park, Nanjing, China.
This large scale commissioned sculpture examined site specificity and scale in a development complex encompassing a two level site. The twin large scale sculptural forms interact with public nature of the site and its role as a visual meeting point and nexus of pedestrian travel.
The 2 piece site specific sculptural work was selected for development, through a competitive international tender process coordinated by Urban Art Projects in a development scheme developed by global landscape firm SWA group.
Robinson, TM 2017, 'The wringing core', The Wringing Core, Galerie Pompom, Sydney.
Robinson, TM 2017, 'Uh Oh', Installation Contemporary, Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia.
Site specific suspended sculptural installation:
fibreglass, foam, plaster, automotive lacquer, SLS print, recycled wooden pallet, paint, hardware, rope
Balloon: 100 x 88 x 88 cm; Pallet: 120 x 100 x 16 cm
Robinson, TM 2016, 'Oooh Aaah', Soft Core, Casula Powerhouse Art Centre, NSW, Australia.
Site specific sculptural commission examined the site specificity of a decommissioned powerhouse at Casula and presented a series of suspended sculptural works that interacted with the industrial architecture of the site.
The work was selected for exhibition as a part of Softcore, Casual powerhouse arts centre curated by Micheal Do and was funded by an Australia Council of the Arts, New Work Grant. The work was subject to a critical review by Russell Storer, Senior Curator National Gallery of Singapore.
List of individual works included
1. (yellow balloon on swing)
Oooh Aaah #1 (2016)
Hydrocal, polyester filler, paint, SLS print, steel swing
2. (Pink balloon suspended on swing)
An unbelievably heavy pink balloon ( 2015)
Balloon: laminated fibreglass, SLS print, automotive lacquer, steel
3. (Green balloon on trestle stand)
Oooh Aaah #2 (2016)
Balloon: laminated fibreglass, SLS print, automotive lacquer. Stand: steel and wood
3. (Large orange balloon over edge)
Oooh Aaah #3 (2016)
Balloon: laminated fibreglass, SLS print, automotive lacquer.
4. (Red Balloon on step)
Oooh Aaah #4, 2016
Hydrocal, polyester filler, paint, SLS print
5. (Green Balloon on short stand)
Oooh Aaah #5 2016
Hydrocal, polyester filler, paint, SLS print
Robinson, TM 2016, 'Psychic staircase', Woollahra small sculpture prize exhibition, Woollahra Council Chambers, NSW, Australia.
free standing sculptural work
Dimensions: (h) 55cm x (w) 21 cm x (d) 28cm
Balloon: cast hydrocal, SLS print, automotive lacquer
Base: MDF, steel, hardwood veneer.
The work consists of 4 individual steel and rope sculptures. There are 2 yellow and 2 black works. The sculptures were configured as a room installation in a room in the historic Lewers Gallery, which is a part of the Penrith Regional Gallery complex.
multi component sculptural installation
Site specific sculptural installation
Multi component sculptural installation with 9 individual sculptural components in room based installation
Robinson, TM 2013, 'The weight of one hand holding', Bigger than me, Light Square Gallery, Adelaide.
Robinson, TM 2012, 'He knows at any moment it may be lost in a vertical field #3, # 4', Heaven or Las Vegas, Galerie pompom.
This project continues an ongoing investigation into the relationship between human perception and the designed object with specific focus on elicitation of touch and physical interaction. The research utilizes the concept of 'bodyscapes' defined as a shifting zone of interaction between the body and adherent objects including both dress-equipment and body-equipment. This encompasses garments/dress, accessories, prosthetics, wearable technology. The project involved the design of 2 objects. Processes included plaster casting, 3D digital design and Selective laser scintering (SLS print).The two anthropomorphic blob shaped objects provoke and elicit human touch. Their exhibition incorporated internal architectural staging elements including, free standing walls and shelving, where the objects, hang precariously over edges.The strategy provoked human contact through the use of 'suspended narrative', whereby the objects appear to be falling from elevated positions. This research is situated in the field of cross-disciplinary practice between art and design that employs technical and conceptual strategies. Specifically, it can be located alongside design strategies that have arisen in the last decade within the field of fashion, contemporary art and craft, that combine conceptual thinking, craft and design and whose processes arise from material based, technical concerns of craft/design for imaging new creative and theoretical possibilities for the designed object.
Robinson, TM 2012, 'Peripeteia', pompom Group Show, pompom galerie.
This work can be situated within an emergent field of cross-disciplinary practice between design and art that employs conceptual and technical strategies from each in order to extend critical dialogue. More specifically, it can be located alongside design practices that have arisen in the last decade within the field of fashion that combine conceptual thinking, craft and design and whose processes arise from the material-based, technical concerns of craft to imagine new possibilities for the designed object. The work is a continuing investigation into serial processes, inherent in textile practice (e.g. processes such as knitting) with a focus on the the variability of textile objects. The work is variable, and can moved moved to form different arrangements. This variability is at odds with conventional understanding of the sculptural object In recent years, 'craft' has been largely absent from contemporary design and art dialogues. By highlighting the contingency of the handmade, in this case, via a designed object embodying properties of both textile and sculptural object , the work draws attention to the importance of understanding the role of experiential and embodied knowledge within creative practice and suggests a reconsideration of the relationship between 'craft' and conceptual thinking within contemporary design practices.
Collaborative project between Todd Robinson and Mark Titmarsh. Project featured live performance where paint was poured onto a series of garments worn by models. The outcomes of this art-fashion production-performance included a combination of garments, video, painting that combined to form a productive site specific infrastructure. The project undertook a practice based investigation into the intersections between art, fashion, painting and textiles within a performative context. The catalogue produced alongside the exhibition situated the project within a historical dialogue between between fields of fashion and art. In particular the project explored contemporary exchanges between fashion designers and visual artists through an innovative model of interdisciplinary art-fashion practice. This model of practice places significant emphasis on linking both the productive activity of painting/clothes making and its presentation as a performative activity.
Robinson, TM 2011, 'Bespoke Painting', Critical Path, The Drill, 1c New Beach Rd, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney.
The live performance was the outcome of ongoing collaborative research between Todd Robinson and Mark Titmarsh. The work 'Bespoke Painting' was a performative presentation for SEAM2011 Symposium: Spacing Movements Outside In, 17th and 18th of September 2011. The collaborative art/fashion work encompassed action painting, garment making & performance and drew on precedents of both performance and installation based practices. The work examined the potential for choreographic strategy to traditional supplant requirements of staging and other forms of productive infrastructure required for process oriented productive performances.
Robinson, TM 2011, 'Public Fitting: Wet and wild discussions', The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, Intellect, United Kingdom.
Visual essay comprises a discussion of collaborative project between Todd Robinson and Mark Titmarsh. Project featured live performance where paint was poured onto a series of garments worn by models. The outcomes of this art-fashion production-performance included a combination of garments, video, painting that combined to form a productive site specific infrastructure. The essay discusses the intersections between art, fashion, painting, textiles and their individual practices. The discussions situate the project within a historical dialogue exchange between fields of fashion and art.
Robinson, TM 2011, 'Today, everyday is today', n/a, Cherine Fahd, Australia, pp. 1-1.
Catalogue essay to accompany the exhibition of Today @ MOP Sydney by Cherine Fahd 29.09.2011 to 16.10.2011 Today, everyday is today Cherine Fahdâs new body of work, Today is art making that examines the everyday. Like much of her photographic work depicting situations and people within contexts of daily life such as streetscapes, domestic scenarios and public spaces, this new series of work explores the everyday, albeit tangentially, as a processual and finely grained examination of the bearing of time. The everyday is personal, itâs mine, yet it disperses across the sensuousness and physicality of daily life. It encompasses the habitual activities of walking, eating, talking, of moving between activities and destinations. The habitual can be tinged with negative connotations to boredom, the repetitious and the inconsequential. Although the repetition of the everyday is not as uniform as one might first consider. The everyday can be richly textured, variegated even, broken up by activities and engagements that absorb us in such a way that frees us from bearing time. The main work is two large-scale canvas drawings that contain lines of the word today. One canvas is written on in a marker that is impermanent so the text and the artistâs efforts are thwarted by the words fading away. The other canvas is written on with a permanent marker, or at least permanent for 60 to 100 years according to the manufacturerâs specifications. Whilst one fades quickly the other remains as a testament to its double, as a comparison or reminder of what was. The photographs from the series Unstill accompany the canvases. In these paired images, barely perceptible movement and duration are recorded in Unstill (a.m.) (p.m.), while Unstill (fruits) Thursday & creator record a sleight of hand between one moment and the next. When I read the title of the show Today, I hear a faint hint of optimism, a quiet gentle conviction. It is consciousness of the deeper than normal inhala...
The body of work examined the realm of men's accessories and contemporary masculine identity with the use of hand embroidery techniques. The project specifically addressed the question of the gendered nature of both sartorial practice and needlecraft practices. By subverting iconic pieces of traditional male attire with hand embroidered text the series established a novel design methodology for critical commentary with the domain of men's fashion.
This body of work can be situated within an emergent field of cross-disciplinary practice between design and art that employs conceptual and technical strategies from each in order to extend critical dialogue. More specifically, it can be located alongside design practices that have arisen in the last decade within the field of fashion that combine conceptual thinking, craft and design and whose processes arise from the material-based, technical concerns of craft to imagine new possibilities for the designed object. The focus of the project was the idea of creative practice itself. Drawing on the serial and repetitive nature inherent in textile practice (e.g. processes such as knitting, weaving and beading), this project investigated the idea of 'production' through a repetitive or process based system. The notion of the series, a concept central to contemporary (art based) practice, was also used. The installation comprised a number of differently sized sculptural components. Each component however was 'fabricated', rather than constructed, by hand by threading a number of similar articulated or jointed elements which formed a flexible 'material' which could then be 'draped'. The difference evident in each outcome highlighted the role of contingency in the process of 'hand' making. In recent years, 'craft' has been largely absent from contemporary design and art dialogues. By highlighting the contingency of the handmade, the work draws attention to the importance of understanding the role of experiential and embodied knowledge within creative practice and suggests a reconsideration of the relationship between 'craft' and conceptual thinking within contemporary design practices.
Robinson, TM 2009, 'Living & Breathing', Southerly Buster, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery.
This body of work develops conceptual and technical strategies between textile design and contemporary sculptural practice. Craft practices including textile practices have in recent years been largely absent from contemporary dialogues within art and design. By highlighting the structural properties of textiles as structurally variable and possessing a multiplicity of spatial combinations, the work draws attention to the potential for innovation through interdisciplinary practice straddling sculpture and textile arts. Living & Breathing was the culmination of materials research investigating the potential of textile forms and structures possessing variable and articulated structural properties. The work explored notions of change and potential, demonstrating how textile-like forms can be moved around, and arranged to form different configurations or shapes. The work was selected to be included in a group exhibition curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham entitled 'Southerly Buster' at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, 22 Aug to 4 Oct 2009.
In the field of fashion and textiles, frameworks tend to focus on fashion and dress as cultural or functional activity, media image or commodity. Alternatively, as a product of techniques, processes and materials. Less focus is dedicated to fashion and textile outcomes as part of embodied experience, the phenomenal and sensible. Material thinking reflects on how the tactile and material presence of fashion and textile products orient corporeal understanding in particular ways.
Craft practice has in recent years been largely absent from contemporary dialogues within art and design. By highlighting the virtuosity of hand skills the work draws attention to the importance of understanding the role of experiential and embodied knowledge within creative practice and suggests a reconsideration of the role of craft skill within contemporary art and design practice. The work sought to examine the serial and repetitive nature of textile practice (knitting, weaving and beading) by utilizing the notion of the double. Three singular objects: a set of toy blocks, a ball of commercially produced string and a length of beaded string are all produced by hand in exact duplicate. The intention of the series of works was to examine the ability of the human hand to mimic the aesthetics of machine production, drawing attention to the adaptability of the processual and embodied knowledge at play in creative activities. The body of work was selected to be exhibited at MOP on the basis of a peer assessed written proposal. The project was also funded by a Janet Holmes Ã Court Artists' Grant Scheme (supported through a donation by Mrs Janet Holmes Ã Court, financial assistance from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council and administered through NAVA, the National Association for the Visual Arts). Curator Daniel Mudie Cunningham wrote a critical commentary to accompany the exhibition of work, titled Todd Robinson, 'Things in the World'.
Solo exhibition at Artspace, Sydney Work published in Artspace journal All evidence provided in template to Faculty DAB
Robinson, TM 2005, 'shirt drawing (series), check, polka dot. stripe', colour(less), Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.
Shirtdrawing is a speculative and provocative design proposition seeking to examine how the process of making a garment and the narrative of the process impact on a viewer. The work draws on precedents from conceptual art to question normative practice in fashion design as primarily concerned with aesthetic, functional and practical considerations. This work employed novel methods of production to draw attention to the orthodoxy of conceiving fashion aesthetics in purely visual terms. The work makes a contribution to a design sub-discipline termed critical design. Critical Design refers to design strategies that critically examine the way design mediates social, cultural and psychological dimensions of day-to-day life. The work contributes a critical design methodology specific to the field of menâs fashion design. Critical design methodologies are valuable in examining ramifications of design against a set of evaluative criteria broader than commercial or narrowly defined aesthetic criteriaa. The work was selected for exhibition at Sherman Galleries. The work was commissioned as a larger series of work utilizing the same methodology, exhibited at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery as a part of the curated exhibition in Colour(less) in 2004.
Robinson, TM 1999, 'Leaf print tunic and sitting mats', Male Order: Addressing Menswear, Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne.
The invitation only project was to conduct research into the archive of the Australian composer Percy Grainger held in The University of Melbourne Grainger Museum. The work produced was an artistic and critical response to individual garments and accessories, produced by Percy Grainger, who in addition to his work as a composer/musician produced a wide range of decorative and artistic works including beadwork, paintings, sound machines, whips and folk art. The aim of the work was to examine the philosophical and aesthetic motivations of Grainger via the production and exhibition of a multi-component installation of men's fashion garments. The project also sought to examine the broader cultural significance of the work of Grainger through contemporary men's fashion design practice. The significance of this research is that it identified and establishes a specific mode of critical and creative enquiry whereby fashion designers can engage in commentary through the production of speculative artefacts, not required to perform functionally or commercially. This is a key development in advancing the level of critical discourse into the significance of men's fashion and dress. Furthermore it provides material and conceptual strategies enabling the development of critical design vocabularies in the field of fashion design. Its value is attested by its inclusion as a part of a curated exhibition, Male Order: Addressing Menswear, exhibited at Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne. The work was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria and received special mention in critical review by Andrew McWalter in Realtime.