From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

current installation in-progress

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This one is giving me a headache.  So far I have over-dyed the 3 fabrics I’m using an average of 8 times.   If I get more perfectionist with them they will lose the very irregularities I was hoping for- there are moments to control a process and moments to let it reveal itself in the piece.  I started out wanted them revealed, and nearly let my craftswoman brain get in the way of my more organic side.  The trick with these was to over-dye to get subtle color variation within a primary pigment color.  Here are the resulting silks draped over my traditional upright loom.

Then there are the warps.  Anyone who has ever wound warps for a weaving knows that precision is your friend.  There really isn’t room for much organic without just making a mess.  I already got my order of operations wrong for one of the scrolls and had to backtrack and redo everything.

The third component is the 100+ crayon drawing images.  These are the kinds of symbolic drawings that children do (that little red house with the two windows, for example), but they are also used in airports or warning labels- anywhere where a simple picture needs to cross not only language barriers, but hopefully cultural ones too (though that is far more tricky).

One thing that is really surfacing with these is how irritating some of them are.  For example:  unless you are going to draw stick figures with genitalia, you basically need to put a dress on any that are specifically female.  This also makes any stick figure that isn’t meant to be either male or female male by default.  It’s just how all these images are.  This is something I want people to run into and to feel that they are pushing against.  Part of the exercise is wanting to disagree with the symbols at times.  The tricky thing is, every symbol I make has to be recognizable to ANYONE while still being very simple and at the same time open to some interpretation.   I also picked many symbols with the hope they would evoke  memories or baggage attached to them.

When a visitor interacts with the piece, they will be invited to say something (a story, a statement, a memory) by weaving together a string of these pictures.  The thing is, that that story will be read very differently by many people.    On the other hand, so is conventional text.  It’s an interesting exercise.

The title is “Primary Text”


At the same time I’m finishing this one, I’m working on a proposal for a new large installation/sculptural piece.  I hope I get the grant because it will be expensive to create, and now that I’ve gotten this far I can’t imagine not making it.  I’m very excited about it.


Written by marycoreymarch

April 16, 2011 at 6:33 am

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