Adding some extra context to the proposal. Toby mentioned adding in textile forms more generally. I assume he meant not just quilts.
This work is sort of quilt-like but ticks a number of boxes visually but also thematically.
arrhythmia 2014, 206 cm x 168 cm x 10 cm by Chung-Im Kim
Zilber E 2015, crafted:objects in flux, MFA Publications, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA, pp 78-81
Chung-Im Kim has created this textile object using printed felt. It appears in book called crafted: objects in flux by Emily Zilber (2015). This book highlights artists who work at the boundary of art and craft and use both traditional and cutting edge craft techniques to create their work. In this case Kim has manipulated imagery from her own echocardiograph and then printed this on felt and irregularly assembled the prints into a whole that reflects the disorganisation of an irregular heart rhythm. This use of personal imagery of a detail of the artist’s life elicits the type of connection with the viewer to which I aspire.
Planning to enter Distance and Diversity – The SAQA regional exhibition.
Size is 60 cm width x 40 cm.
Thinking about doing 8 cm square blocks with sashing. 6 x 4 landscape.
Will try and illustrate the creation of diversity over time as in evolution.
This is a grayscale scan of my cyantype nautilus shell photogram.
Using this I will try and evolve the image through repetition and other interventions until I have different images.
Will make four evolutionary paths, first column of four will all be the same image, with cyanotype alone and all the cotton sateen fabric. Then I will scan the resultant images and reprint each making an intervention and so on.
This is the first transparency image which will be used for all of the first column of four. Have edited the levels to range from 90-180 leaving the centre at 1.0.
Will be consistent and edited the repeated scans in the same way.
This is the original cyanotype on fabric. I wish I could include this but space doesn’t allow.
The idea is that column one will all be the same and then I’ll gradually introduce interventions in the way mutations occur over time and with repetition. The thing is really that I am documenting corruptions and will likely end up with a lesser final image, as opposed to what I am trying to show which is diversity in a positive light. I really don’t know what will happen so I guess that is part of the fun.
1. Artefact in the repeated scanning and the printing process. This will be equal across the whole work.
2. Type of fabric used. – Cotton sateen, tussah silk, silk wool, raw silk, homespun. Four of these. Probably leave out tussah silk.
3. Colour – think I will add colour in the form of yellow, red, blue but I’ll probably leave the cyanotype too?
I keep on going with trying new things but not sure how best to arrange.
I’m really not sure that I enjoy the overlays. To some extent it’s two good photos spoiled.
Wondering now about pairing an inside thing like an insect or bottom of wine glass or sanitiser photogram with a pinhole through the window photo without the overlay.
Would look something like this but done in most likely cyanotype. Outside pic could be cyanotype and inside maybe coloured solarfast. Although I am really wondering whether to ditch all the solarfast for this project and just do cyanotype because it gives better imagery. Like Gerrard says it’s cleaner.
If I was to do this though, how would the whole quilt be arranged? Nine diptychs would look very landscape
Could do three by six diptychs and that would be a square 🙂 Of course that is 36 prints. 72 inch square quilt with no sashing. So that is actually alright but a lot of work in a week. At least I wouldn’t actually have to sew it. Could do that later.
Still trying to work out what photosensitive chemical best. Cyanotype or solarfast.
Here I have bleached cyanotype with washing powder – tried to control the amount and then I have used one tea bag only to tone the print. Definitely warms it up but it is not as pink as that looks. Other options are a harder bleach and tannin which will give a brown and white print.
I could do my wine glasses/flies etc in the same toning or I could use solarfast with muted colour. i could use red wine for some of the tannin toning and maybe I could also use different teas. Manipulating the colour with home materials like washing powder, tea and wine seems like a good plan. Also could use vinegar and peroxide. Perhaps I should look for a cyanotype artist and research toning a bit more. So far I’m just using what I learned at the two day workshop at Gold St Studios a couple of years ago. I did Van Dyke brown while I was there too and do have chemical for that. They can also mix with cyanotype. Trouble is it’s all a bit late for that now but something to consider in Honours.
Here I have paired the fly with the outside scene. I have dulled down the fly because it’s too bright green solarfast but I can repeat the print and treat it the same as the left hand print to more completely match colour. This is the sort of pairing of imagery I imaged but not necessarily these too as a pair. It’s late to add this much work but I think I can do it. With the objects I can flip around and reverse if I like I can also use scans of small objects which give amazing detail. Could also still do some small object lumens. Have time for that.
Just mocked this up in photoshop from a negative to show another example. Will have to flip around configuration to stop me having a column of outside and a column of inside.
Obviously not using the same photos but this would have to be the arrangement 3 diptychs across and 6 down.
Spider,S (editor) 2018, Art Quilts Unfolding, Schiffer Publishing, USA , p 9
Jean Ray Laury created this quilt in 1956 as part of her Masters Degree in Art at Stanford University.
Interestingly it is familiar interesting objects arranged haphazardly a bit similar in composition to work I have done. 1956 is amazing for a quilt in a masters of art. Wonder how she went. Mentioned in the book as early work in art quilt genre.
This artist is starting to get close and is certainly using experimental printing on to cloth to make quilts. Not sure about her thematic but she has certainly pursued a art career with academic art study as well.
Her site looks like it might not have been added to since 2007 which is a shame.
She is in the SAQA juried artists but again nothing recent. The SAQA juried artists would be somewhere I might find a few more contemporary artists doing experimental printing of fabric prior to making a quilt.
Still thinking about possibilities. I understand it has to be narrow and now trying to work backwards from what I’m actually doing towards what my proposal could be about. I’m wondering if I make my topic about the barriers to quilting being accepted as art, then I will have to spend a lot of time discussing a more political/ feminist perspective that I am not as interested in. I’m much more interested in physical experimentation to create imagery. Also the artists I reference will be in regard to pushing the envelope with quilts, which is fine but I would also like to be aligned with more process oriented artists. So maybe my question should be more about the process and fabric manipulation. I can still include quilts I guess, but maybe focus it more on the fabric processes than the discussions about the place of quilts. I’m thinking that I’ll more easily find artists pushing the boundaries with fabric manipulation that I will find pushing the envelope with quilts. If I can somehow combine the two then even better but I don’t want to spend a lot of time around political themes or feminist themes.
So working backwards the body of work I’d like to produce would be:
Quilts as the format, likely abstract. No pictorial but also not traditional. Piecing that adds content or meaning. Not formal applique but layering. Building up a work over time. Selecting fabric from my experiments that work to evoke emotion. Leaning towards sublime and formalism, so likely large scale, small details, colour contrasts. Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter. Struggle to think of quilt artists doing what I want but they will be there. Often they become more mixed media with use of paints that take away from the quiltyness.
Colin in Sculpture was talking about avoiding taste and making sure that it conveys meaning.
Manipulating fabric especially over time like rusting, solarfast, lumen prints, photographic techniques, cyanotype, dyeing. Experimentation and serendipity.
Emotive or personal content
Use of purposeful stitch
My quilts will be functional objects still. I don’t want to include anything that means they can’t be washed.
So how to combine this all in one question?
I’m going to first try and worry about the fabric manipulation side and then discuss the quilt as the best medium for displaying, assembling and adding further meaning to the work.
This is an abstract from a masters exigesis by Sue Jackson.
ABSTRACT Exploring the Interface negotiates the boundaries between the often‐disparate practices of art and craft. The interface, as the point of interplay between these practices, is offered as a metaphor for the negotiation of the physical and psychical boundaries of self. This project asks how these practices can be navigated and if the interface can signify the spaces of one’s emotional and corporeal identities. It also questions how the maternal relationship and feminine and domestic archetypes contribute to the construction of gender. The project aims to extend the traditional use of domestic craft while honouring the semiotic potential of its feminine associations. I endeavour to create an expressive device from mute craft materials and techniques using the language of the object and the poetics of metaphor. I seek to evoke memory and the senses by activating the gallery space in a series of narrative dramas that play out inside domestic constructs. My artwork takes the form of a series of installations using various materials ranging from those traditionally associated with domestic craft to more ephemeral organic matter. Handcrafted objects reside with ready‐mades while garments and domestic artefacts nestle amongst furniture. The project commenced with an investigation of various hierarchies pertaining to gender and practice. An exploration of traditional craft materials and techniques led to innovative approaches and a consideration of the maternal legacies of the craft tradition. The amassing of craft materials and objects suggested a wealth of memories, histories and untold narratives. The expressive potential of the craft object was explored and what emerged was the performative function of the artwork as a means of activating senses, memory and space. Artists who extend craft beyond traditional application, including Judy Chicago, Fiona Hall, Freddie Robins, Anne Farren and Dave Cole, have influenced experimentation with the expressive potential of materials and techniques. The maternal relationship is explored through the work of Barbara Hanrahan, Lindsay Obermeyer and Kay Lawrence. Artworks by Anne Wilson, Jana Sterbak and Magdelena Abakanowicz inform body‐specific work that focuses on corporeal elements of gender. Mnemonic artworks by Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Magdalena Bors and Doris Salcedo provide a reference for memory, narrative and domestic based installations. Exploring the Interface focuses on negotiating various boundaries as a metaphor for the construction and deconstruction of ideas of self. The work takes up a symbolic position swaying between the physical and psychical spaces of subjectivity. Inner and outer domains manifest in narrative constructs that inspire and are inspired by memory and lived experience.
I have been looking for a website or recent work by Sue Jackson and couldn’t find anything much to follow this up with.
This publication explores the parallel between the interface of art and craft and the interface of physical and psychic. It’s not really what I was after but I am really looking for some idea about the question I can pose for my honours and also other artists that may be working in the area of quilts as fine art. I’ll probably look up some of the crafty artists she mentions 🙂
Once I know the question I’ll be able to focus on writing up the proposal. I guess what I want to do is make a body of work that is quilts. My criteria really is that I would like to make articles that eventually have the potential to get used up. But I also want to make work that is read as art. Basically I want them to be able to be repurposed as a household article once their time being revered on the wall is done. :). It also gives me something to do with all my art that fails to be recognised as worthy of exhibition. I have my entry in the art quilt show as a bathmat on the floor and I love it. Second year print project quilt is being used as an ironing mat. Lots of my quilts get used as tablecloths and rugs in front of the tv or extra warmth at night. But I’m not content with that. I would like to make artworks that are visual and appreciated as art and not combined with function initially. Function is my way of recycling art. Because let’s face it. There is a lot of art in the world and unless we start making it a bit ephemeral it will visually choke us. That is already happening with all the visual imagery that bombards us everyday.
So maybe my question should be ‘what is the extent and nature of the barriers to quilts being viewed as art, and exploring the artists pushing against those barriers’. The question sounds a bit clunky but maybe it’s a start.
Sue de Vanny didn’t get in to the Archibald with her mixed media painting. Not sure that it really is a quilt but I have written to ask her and see if she has tried to enter any quilts in art prizes.
Viewed 19 September 2020
Reference above looks a bit dodgy so I’ll tell you this is a screen shot from Sue De Vanny’s Post to Studio Art Quilt Associates facebook page. It is detail of her portrait of quilter Jenny Bowker.
Ann Murray. “In the Fray: Making and Meaning in Jenny Bowker’s Memorial Quilt After the Last Sky“. H-ART. Revista de historia, teoría y crítica de arte, no. 7 (2020): 53-68. https://doi.org/10.25025/hart07.2020.04
This article discusses the formal elements of the imagery and piecing of the quilt and how they have been used to reference various aspects of the incident but also throwing back to some middle eastern history with the patterning.
Some of the points mentioned included using a number of triangles in the background to show the numbers of people killed and using florals in the flames referencing memorial. There is also discussion around how the scale of a quilt can be much increased compared to the usual scale of a photo, and how it reaches a different audience in a more intimate setting compared to an online photograph. It brings this imagery back into view long after it’s been lost to the ether as a digital photo.
So it is discussing this as art, and indicating how it can be analysed using formal elements similar to any art work.
I’ve tried to research recent Jenny Bowker work other than this but she doesn’t seem to have added anything to her website since this. This work was well received but still only exhibited in quilt exhibitions, as far as I can see.
Personally I’m familiar with this quilt and may have even seen it in person, but until today I hadn’t looked closely. I’m embarrassed to admit that I thought it was a footballer and usually quickly dismissed it as a pictorial quilt, which I tend to shy away from. Of course now understanding the background makes me look at it differently.
How can this article relate to my possibly Honours project?
I would like to do an honours project about the current place of the quilt in the contemporary art world and whether that is changing.
To that end I would be making quilt work that considered formal elements to create meaning as in an art work, as well as aesthetic considerations.
To that end my “companions” would be artists using the quilt as their medium, but presenting their work as art.
I would look for artists with fine art academic training or at least approaching their work with this type of mindset, who are presenting their work outside of dedicated quilt shows. Could be difficult. I know Sue de Vanny entered a quilt in this year’s Archibald but not sure if it got in.Just checked and finalists announced on Sept 17. I really hope it does. I don’t think Jenny Bowker’s quilt has been presented except in quilt shows.
My work would involve presenting a body of work of quilts that fit with my idea of art – formal elements, meaning, ideas, message, connection, emotive, aesthetically pleasurable.
Medium and size: Work is rendered in fabric and thread, as for a traditional quilt and is of a size that could have been used in a cot or for a child.
Colour: the colours used are similar to the pastel colours often used in a traditional cot quilt but they are slightly more intense and the background yellow is quite a sickly biological green yellow rather than lemon yellow, which introduces the work as mildly unsettling even at first glance.
Line: Fifteen figures appear to move across the quilt, initially read from left to right but this is then disrupted by the alternating direction of the figures, the selection of a different background for two of the figures and the absence of a figure at all in the bottom right corner. In this way the traditional geometry and repetition of a quilt is further subverted but still retains neat regimented arrangement which belies the horror and chaos of the content being suggested.
Atmospheric elements (movement light space): Neat regimented arrangement belies the horror and chaos of what is being represented
Shape and form: The soft curves and simple shapes of the figures suggest childhood innocence and the layering of patterned and plain fabrics give further soft form to the figures. The machine gun is inserted into this as a white silhouette with sharp edges and no suggestion of three dimensional form. This serves to highlight the contrast between the child like figure and the straight edges of the gun. A white silhouette suggests absence to me and is perhaps indicating that it needs to be removed from the image.
The final empty yellow block also reinforces the idea of absence going forward into the future, but in this case may be commenting of the absence of the child and loss of childhood.
Space/picture plane: All figures are presented on the one picture plane, but have space around them. Isolated figures repeated across the work, referencing repeated but separate events.
Texture: Texture is visible as a soft work due to the medium and further relief is developed by the use of quilting lines. In this case the lines encase each figure in its own cage like structure best seen on the darker background. It is a tight and somewhat hard looking quilting pattern that removes some of the traditional quilt softness and is a bit reminiscent of a target centered on the child figure.
Whilst at first glance this looks like a quilt made for a child, on closer inspection it reveals itself to be unsettling but effective comment on the loss of children in the US to gun violence and gun accidents. It encourages the viewer to engage, to look deeper and most importantly to feel, and this is why I think this is a good painting.
Below is a hand out sent by Yvette to help with this task.
Strategies used in analysis and evaluation of artworks
An examination of the image in front of you that discusses formal elements (such as colour, line shape), materials and medium, technical qualities as well as subject matter.
Be objective. Try not to use words such as “beautiful” or “ugly” that identify a subjective opinion.
An assessment of atmospheric elements of the work (i.e. movement, light, space).
Examines how the work is organized as a complete composition. How is the work constructed or planned (i.e. placement of elements within the pictorialplane, directional forces)?
Identifies some of the similarities throughout the work (i.e. repetition of line, colour, shape etc)
Identifies some of the points of emphasis in the work (i.e., use of scale, pictorial space, movement, use of colour).
Identifies the relationships between the subject matter and formal elements
Addresses the visual information that the artist presented in terms of content
Describes how the work makes you think or feel:
Describes the expressive qualities you find in the work.
Describes any feelings, emotions or attitudes that may arise when viewing the work.
Does the work remind you of other things you have experienced (i.e., analogy or metaphor)?
Does the work use symbolic elements?
Does the work respond to a specific social or political issue or event?
*All statements made here should be supported by visual clues and evidence found within the image.
Judgment or Evaluation
Presents your opinion of the work’s successes or failures
Addresses how effectively the image projects or communicates the artist’s intention
Addresses whether you like or dislike the work
Address other issues such as originality, contemporary relevance and social context.
*All statements made here should be supported by visual clues and evidence found within the image.
This is a fabric and thread work, nearly one metre square, that is comprising of 16 square panels arranged and joined in a square and then further contained within a thin border. The individual panels show a stylised child-like figure rendered in patches of patterned or plain coloured fabric. This figure is shown carrying the white silhouette of a gun pointing away from the child. The child is shown in all but the last panel which is left blank in the background yellow colour. The figures are arranged in rows of four, first facing in one direction and then the other. All but two of the backgrounds are yellow with the substitution of a blue and a pink background for the remaining two. Quilting lines in an echo type pattern centred on each panel is visible overlying the panels. The figures are all the same in shape and hang in space centrally in each panel essentially on a flat picture plane. The only slight depth is created by the overlaying of fabrics in the figure.
As a functional quilt, this work could be considered cot size or of a size suitable for a child, immediately referencing childhood.
The colours used are mostly primary but fall somewhat on the pastel side in tone. The fabric patterns are cheerful floral or other repeating patterns. The background yellow however has a slightly biological green hue to it as opposed to sunny yellow. This colour serves to unsettle and insert an element of anxiety into the work.
Fifteen child-like figures move across the work, initially read from left to right but then disrupted by alternating direction at the end of a row. This repetition is further undermined by the use of a different background for two of the figures and the absence of a figure at all in the bottom right corner. In this way the traditional geometry and repetition of a quilt is somewhat subverted. The work however, still retains an neat regimented arrangement, while belies the chaos of the content the artist is referencing.
Soft simple shapes and curves suggest childhood innocence and the layering of patterned and plain fabrics give slight form to the body of the child. The gun, however, is represented as a silhouette in white suggesting absence or perhaps that it needs to be removed. It is not given form or detail possibly to highlight that it is out of place.
The final empty yellow panel also reinforces the idea of absence going forward into the future, but in this case may be commenting of the absence of the child and loss of childhood.
The figures are all presented on the one picture plane and each figure is isolated on its own panel with no points of connection or interaction between them. The arrangement suggests both isolation and repetition of the isolated event.
The work is visibly constructed of fabric and hence reads as soft but some relief is developed by the use of quilting lines. Lines encase each figure in its own cage-like structure best seen on the darker background. It is a tight and somewhat hard looking quilting pattern that removes part of the traditional quilt softness and is reminiscent of a target centred on the child figure.
At first glance this appears like a traditional baby quilt, but this initial impression is then undermined by the presence of a gun. The use of many traditional quilt elements and the modification of a traditional quilt pattern serves to highlight the contrasting elements of softness and protection with the frightening concept of a gun in the hands of a child.
I am conflicted appreciating the formal elements of attractive colour and pattern but at the same time facing the terrifying message of the work. I feel a desire to get in there and remove the gun from the image to restore its beauty and peace.
I know from reading about the work, that it is responding to the deaths of children in the US from gun violence or accidents. I think this meaning is accessible from the work without this knowledge. The violent content viewed in the context of what is normally regarded as a gentle type medium, speaks clearly to the horror of the mix of guns and children.
I think this work is very successful at disquieting the viewer and conveying a message made more powerful by the contrast with a lot of other works in this medium. It is a work that conveys a message first and foremost. I don’t find it aesthetically pleasing, and I find myself having a desire to see it without the gun, in order to feel the pleasure I can obtain when I look at some artworks. It is a work that is relevant to the social and political environment in the US where it was made.
The work encourages the viewer to engage, to look deeper and most importantly to feel, and therefore I think it is a good painting.