We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Childhood fabric



Vivienne Binns


06 Nov 1940 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    acrylic on canvas
    173.0 x 168.0 cm
    Purchased with funds provided by the Patrick White Bequest 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Vivienne Binns/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Vivienne Binns

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Vivienne Binns has constantly experimented with and pushed at the boundaries of her artistic practice. Born in 1940 in Wyong, New South Wales, she attended East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School) between 1958 and 1962. A trailblazer of community-based practice, Binns is also recognised as a vanguard of feminist and collaborative art. While predominantly a painter, Binns has also worked across printmaking, performance, sculpture and drawing. Over the years, alongside her art practice, Binns has nurtured generations of Australian artists in her role as an educator, teaching painting, drawing and art theory at universities in Sydney, Albury and Canberra. In a distinguished career spanning over sixty years, Vivienne Binns has made an impressive and important contribution to Australian art.

    Childhood fabric 1991, and related works, signified a marked departure from Binns’ earlier works, such as ‘The adolescent is a boy?’ in which Binns toyed with ideas of sexual identity and gender through graphic and unreservedly expressive figurative scenes. In ‘Childhood fabric’, Binns continued her pointed exploration into the socialisation and the prescription of gender norms but enlisted abstraction and formal play as an ideological instrument. Here, she delves into personal memories through pattern and found motifs. In the body of work from which ‘Childhood fabric’ derives, Binns recreated the patterning found on many fabrics from her childhood; abstracting objects of nostalgia into studies of design and form. The pattern that appears in this painting comes from a dress Binns used to own. Frilly and froufrou; this dress was assertively gendered. In appropriating its pattern and applying to a flat canvas, Binns usurps the gendered and feminised frame of the garment.

Other works by Vivienne Binns

See all 9 works