Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pondering, Again

It wasn't just Red I went to on Tuesday. In fact, I did quite a bit more.

I went to the Polytech library to check the pieces I withdrew from Red, swapped the tags on some, and prepared paperwork to deliver them to the Suter. I've always seen myself as a technically weak weaver. So whenever I get back pieces I made but hadn't really seen or felt in a while, I am mildly surprised the construction of my pieces are fairly solid, (even if they look delicate); selvedges are acceptable, and fringes, if any, are tidy.  So for the next little while I shall concentrate on the even-ness of my picks, especially when weaving with cashmere, and the tidiness of hemming and the shape of the hemmed ends.
My camera has been having a difficult time photographing saturated reds lately, but I had to take a few pics of this piece.  The warp is wool, in gradation of somewhere between five and seven reds, the weft is in one red possum/merino/silk.  In real life, the structure is very hard to see, but in fact it's identical to this piece.  When I wove it, I was disappointed I could not see the design at all, as I was expecting it to show up a little bit, if not as much as in the the photo.  Now, however, I like the idea that one of my favorite drafts is hidden in the sea of reds.

I then ran into Ronette in the library, so she had ice cream while Ben and I had lunch, and we talked about the 3D carry on I've been carrying on, and where I wanted to go.  I know I learned to not worry about where I should end up and trust in the process from her drawing class, so I told her I feel fine with the 3D investigation, (what a change!) or that one day I might do two types of things, cloth weaving and strange arty stuff with handwoven textiles.  But I still feel very strongly about the intrinsic worth of the humble handwoven cloth, and not only want to stay an advocate for it, but that I'm still looking for ways to be innovative on the loom, within the flat cloth.  It was an interesting discussion because Ronette's journey was the other way around; she started with art education, and her chosen technique was weaving.  And because of the company she kept, i.e. art teachers, though she has an immense knowledge of the humble weaving, and has sold garments in the past, her on-going interest remains 3D.  That can be folded flat cloth or sculptural work, but something not flat, constructed mainly from textiles.

No, we didn't find a conclusion; we couldn't even begin to compile a list of what I should try to satisfy my notion of innovation on the loom.  But it was fun talking and visualizing ideas.  And we hoped we find some ways in the next, oh, 20 years.

Then I delivered my pieces to Andrea at the Suter and saw three exhibitions.  The first, something I look forward to every year, is Top Art, selected New Zealand high school students' design projects.  Alittle bit of text, lots of visuals and sometimes real materials, (this year, there was one with macaronis and cookies,) demonstrating design process are displayed on three sheets of A1 board.  Often there we don't see the final artwork that resulted from these processes, but is riveting following other makers' thinking process, and refreshing to see young people's uncomplicated, straight forward approach, especially when dealing with political issues.  The Suter has this exhibition every year, but as the show travels, it is available for a very short time, and somehow I always seem to accidentally find them.

Then I saw Nga Kakahu, a joint exhibition by a traditional Maori weaver and a sculptor, of Maori cloaks and Victorian garments.  I liked the well-constructed garments, but to me it felt there wasn't the strong statement by the makers in the respective work.  It did, though, fascinate me that a sculptor took on a massive garment project.

Then I went into an exhibition I've been looking forward to, Ann Verdcourt's ceramic exhibition.  I'll give you some links below, but the heart of the matter is, A) these were more "arty sculptures" than ceramics, as in pottery, but many components of the "art pieces" were every day pot pieces; B) Verdcourt had excellent, impeccable techniques that allowed her to show me what she wants without my being distracted by any judgment or noise.  It was a pure pleasure to soak myself into her world of colors, shapes, arrangements, whimsy and play.

Walking back and forth among and between and around her work, I kept thinking of how I could be more innovative on the loom, how I could find, for me and for all weavers, more places to show handwoven cloth in the art context.  I felt her Morandi still work series prodding me and teasing me that I could do it. We'll see.

* * * * *

This video from Whangarei  Art Museum shows, I think, the exact same pieces exhibited at the Suter; both were based on, if not is the same as, those held at Te Manawa and Sarjeant in 2010. The catalogue sold was from the 2010 exhibitions, which must have been much bigger than what we have at the Suter.

Some of the pieces shown here were included in the exhibition.

This video shows a few of the 70 pieces she was commissioned to create for the Sevelle Expo. (And a good measure of Kiwi accent to boot!)

* * * * *

Ann Verdcourt likes to bring two-dimensional paintings into 3D and add her twist.  From memory, I saw:

McMahon's Promised Land (She changed the hills to everyday ceramic objects.) 

Matisse's portrait of son Pierre (Vibrant)

Picasso's muse with a berret and rolled collar coat (Didn't expect to like this piece, but loved it; the profile was especially beautiful.)

A whole series on Velázquez's women and girls (Hilarious!) 

Modigliani's Bride and Groom (Two separate busts; lovely)

His Jeanne Hébuterne (With a political twist.)

de Kooning's Woman (Not sure which one, but cartoonish  and garrish.)

And many still lives by Morandi (Because of the quiet colors, the eye goes straight to the textures of independent pieces and the composition; the textures had a direct visual link to textiles.)

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