Nick Cave

Last week I went to the Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip District of Pittsburgh to see Nick Cave's Soundsuits.I love his work! This was the first I had the seen the Soundsuits. Cave scours thrift stores and the like for patterned, sequined, beaded dresses, skirts, clothing, whatever strikes his fancy and creates magic from these recycled materials.

I am drawn to Cave's work for a number of reasons. Primarily because of his history as a dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater so his work always has a theatrical quality which appeals to me. His Soundsuits are intended to be worn and many are used in his performance pieces. The sounds they make are incredible coupled with how the various materials move with the dancer.

Cave's utilization of pattern, color and design is a delight. The way he mixes and matches intense colors and patterns references African textile design merged with a contemporary
fashion design twist. He makes playful reference to kitsch and asks you to question, what is art vs. fashion, what is costume, adornment, the need to decorate ourselves and set ourselves apart and maintain distance from one another.
Just love it!


Woman Made Gallery

More on my visit to Chicago. A bit last minute but the motivation to go to Chicago was to see one of my quilts Unchained? in a show The Commercial Woman juried by Colette Gaiter. The show was rich and varied, very impressive. As always seeing it on line didn't begin to do it justice.

The top photo is of Unchained? from the back of the gallery towards the street. The photo beneath it is the view upon entrance. My piece was hung beautifully and caught the eye right away. It was the first time I had seen it hung as I intended. It hung in a library for 3 months but had to be supported by a free standing frame. The library show was fabulous, it generated alot of discussion about art and quilts, what is a quilt?

Back to Chicago I was taken with the space.
The gallery fills with natural light on a sunny day. I had the opportunity to meet one of the board members Margo Jeanchild who is delightful and very enthusiastic about the gallery. Our good friends Skip and Cindy joined us for the week-end. I don't know Chicago very well but I am eager to return. A great time was had by all. Check out Woman Made Gallery


Gordon Matta-Clark

I just returned from Chicago, there to see a piece I had at the Woman Made Gallery, fabulous gallery.

While there we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was completely absorbed in the retrospective of Matta-Clark (the show originated at the Whitney). What is impressive about the exhibit is the sense you get of how his mind worked. He used theories and concepts, from the environment, architecture (he is trained in architecture), alchemy, outdoor survival strategies and art and used the technology of the times to create his work. He created architectural interventions. He pulled apart preconceived notions of space. He sliced and diced, buildings, and took photos of the process which he then put back together in an entirely different scheme. He documented each of his building cuts on film. And what he created is oddly beautiful. He forces you to look at buildings, in a whole new way.

What is striking is the energy in all of his work from his sketchbooks to the physical work expended in cutting into buildings whatever the material. His drawings are particularly fascinating he's a whirling dervish with his use of symbols, rather graffiti like, or hieroglyphics, playful and graphic almost cartoonish.

His use of word play in everything what a fascination he had with words and a devilish sense of humor (anarchitecture for example). How he called attention on a massive scale to the issues of decay and poverty in our cities, NYC, as the example. How he recycled materials to consider in construction now seems ahead of his time sadly he died in 1978. Imagine what he would have done had he lived.

And the irony of viewing his work in a museum, examining the cut outs, taking it all out of the environment he chose to work in.



Working in a Series

What does it mean to work in a series?
Is it an exploration of one design element, or color through repetition? Play with it six ways to Sunday until you are either bored of the design and execution or exhausted all possibilities? Is it even possible to exhaust all the possibilities?

When I work in a series it is concept based. I take an ideological concept and develop it visually so the pieces in the series aren't necessarily related through design although they may be. And then I exhaust the concept until I have nothing more to say.

Still a series.