Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The House With The Golden Windows

east wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe
From January 31  2007

To discover the conscious mind in a world where intellect is held to be valuable requires solitude - quite a lot of solitude.   We have been very strenuously conditioned against solitude.  To be alone is considered to be a grievous and dangerous condition.  Most people have never been alone enough.
I suggest that people who like to be alone, who walk alone, will perhaps be serious workers in the art field.                                                                                                                

 Agnes Martin
south wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe

west wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe

north wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe

From January 12 2007

This blog gives me an opportunity to explain how quilts in general and my quilts in particular fit into the critical discourse of contemporary art.  Quilts are usually made by women and almost always refer to life in some way.  Quilts are considered craft by art galleries, and because of that they are often dismissed as a decorative triviality, and not given exhibition opportunities.  Quilts, because of their connection to the bed, provide a vehicle that is rich with metaphor about major life passages.  Quilts need to be understood and they need to be critically defended.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The House With the Golden Windows

The House With The Golden Windows North Wall exterior

The House With The Golden Windows North Wall interior
From November 2 2006

Although the primary function of embroidery seems to be decorative, it is rooted in belief and superstition.  Embroidery is closer to tattooing than to weaving or knitting.
From November 3 2006

Quilts are down to earth.  They are manifestations of a simpler time.  The hands on effort required to make them is one of the things that makes them strong and true.

There are four panels to this house installation - east, south, west and north.
This post shows details of the north wall only.

Monday, April 25, 2016

wedding dress series

I looked in the Mirror and said: "you're fine".  
 From November 2006

It is almost impossible to find an illustration of a Canadian artist's work in an art history book.

I managed to find eleven women artists' names in the index of Norbert Lynton's The Story of Modern Art and many more than that in H H Arnason's History of Modern Art. However, Arnason only listed two Canadians,(Jack Bush and Agnes Martin) while Lynton only listed one (Agnes Martin).

Agnes Martin (no relation) moved to the states when she was twenty but she was born in Saskatchewan and grew up in Vancouver so Canada claims her.
bridal arrmour  rubbing

silver wedding  rubbing
From December 2006

In November, I complained that it was near to impossible to find any images of Canadian artists in art history books. This comment was in reference to Linda Nochlin's famous question "Why have there been no great women artists?" Let it be known that there are Canadian artists, and one of the great ones is Joyce Wieland.  

Joyce Wieland (1931-1998) continues to inspire me because the subject matter and choice of media in her artwork celebrates being female. She has a quilt in the national gallery of Canada. 
seed pod  ink

wedding dress series: seed pod ink on paper, red thread was couched on in 2008

vulnerable  ink and wax
From January 2007

Women artists are not outside of history or culture.
Women artists just occupy and speak from a different position.
This position is essential to the meaning of western culture
more vulnerable  ink and wax

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fragile As a Leaf in Autumn

Fragile as a Leaf in Autumn  2004
 shibori with procion dyes,
 hand applique, hand embroidery, machine piece work
hand quilted. 70 x 90 inches
from October 25 2006
I spend a lot of time thinking.
I am inspired by what I've recently read.
The sketches I make during this early time are rough scribbles.
I make them in a book with ball point pen.
from January 29 2009

I am a mother who loves nature and worries about my family.
My quilts have longish titles.
My viewer recognizes the domesticity of these comfortable items.
The titles speak about the inner mystery within.

What if they just had numbers?    What if they were all named 'untitled'?
They are traditional women's work about traditional women's subjects.
When they are displayed in a white cube gallery setting, is that enough to elevate them into fine art?
Will people be affected by the lengthy time I spent?
Will they recognize their own memories?
Will they come away transformed by the work of the work?
from October 17 2006

my quilts let me tell my story
they let me speak about my life in code

Friday, April 1, 2016

Order Belies Chaos

From October 6 2006

I read an interview with Mary Babcock in the summer 2005 Surface Design Journal yesterday.  she believes that beauty holds the power to interrupt our habitual forms of reaction to world events (fear, anger etc) and provides a path to help us find the hope within ourselves.  She maintains that beauty is essential for growth and social change.

She refers to her time as a fine arts undergraduate.  "Another student drew with brilliant colours and animated marks.  During one critique someone asked about the content of his work.  He said his best friend had just died.  I was perplexed: how could he work with such brilliant colour during such pain?

I will always remember his answer.  It was the brilliant colour that enabled him to face the pain. Without that beauty he could not create.  Without creating he could not go on."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Family Life

Family Life 1990 Bear's Paw pattern, made entirely from re-purposed family clothing,
 the names of the family are used as quilting stitches.
 The shapes of the bear's paws made me think a mother's reaction to the chaos within a busy family day.
She throws up her hands.
from October 30 2006

So often I feel that I am the one who is responsible for all the things that are happening to me and to those around me.  I feel that I should be more in control of the situation when in actual fact, there's not much I or anyone can do.  The only place where I can do exactly what I want and can take total responsibility is the art I make.  Thank goodness for art.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sonnet XIV

Sonnet XIV  1998  79" w x 89" h   A quilt made to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary
The front of the piece includes text by Margaret Atwood.
From September 9 2006

Many people ask me if I feel isolated.  I usually answer 'yes', because Manitoulin island is so far away from larger centers in Canada and we live very privately here.  However, I don't think isolation is necessarily a bad thing for an artist.  I really do love solitude.  I'm reassured to read Nancy Crow's comments about being alone.  "I like it.  I love it.  I love being by myself.  I happen to believe that the more solitude you have, the more you're able to delve inside and find those rich levels of ability that are fresh.  Otherwise you're allowing all this chattering constantly coming at you and you can never reach that part of yourself."  

The reverse of Sonnet XIV  1998.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnet XIV is quoted
one of the sonnets she wrote for her husband Robert Browning
From September 11 2006

I make two sided cloth wall pieces that are large enough to cover two persons.  Thousands of hand stitches are used not only to quilt the layers together, but also to embellish the work with embroidery.
Production is slow and I finish about two a year.  I am currently exploring the metaphor of the quilt as a protective covering.