Snow day, stuck inside so it’s a good time to get up to date with my blogging.
After all the Joining the next project in Part 2 is Wrapping. I’m not going to rush ahead to blog about my wrappings but follow the course layout and talk first about my research.
Thank God for Pinterest, it’s so much easier to research images and artists using this platform rather than trawling through all the information on the internet.
I’m continually updating my boards but this one is specific to this part of MMT, OCA – Joining and Wrapping
Using Pinterest does make my research rather random, it is image focused and I don’t always look too closely at the artist unless their work totally blows me away.
What Do I Like
I gathered lots of images and then sorted them into groupings based on what appealed to me about the images.
Firstly, I was drawn to packages with a clear purpose.
1. Those little fibrous bundles are transitional, they will only be around until they are opened to reveal the magic made as the natural dyes soaked into the fabric and thread wrapped round them. Perfectly organic and spontaneous.
2. I can find very little information about the bundles and wraps that look like intestines or strange alien vegetables. These are about the reaction they generate in the viewer; the mixture of white (bandages), red (blood) and pink (flesh) are sure to make most people wince. Art often employs being edgy to keep it modern and contemporary and I like these pieces because they are that but they also have a look that makes you think of Victorian medical models and displays.
3. Again there is very little information online about the little story board wraps. A word or two (sorry the photo is upside down) is pasted to each piece that I can only assume was used to influence the selection of items.
1. No Wrapping research project would be complete without a piece by Christo & Jean-Claude. Their work is majestic, huge, brain twisting and beautifully elegant and ethereal. I’m pretty sure the photographs do not do them justice.
They are remarkable but I don’t actually like them, they are too showy, they cover rather than enhance the beauty of the object wrapped. I have kept them in my research log because of their largeness, they take the artistic element of scale to a whole new level.
2. Anne Gates‘ wrapped eggs are far more appealing. I put them with the trees because of the similarities in shape and colour and the vast difference in their size.
In contrast to the virtually transparent approach to Wrapping used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude I chose 3 images that represented heavy, almost complete coverage of a base object with wrappings.
1. Sheila Hicks is the master of the tight, repetitive wrap, gems to be gained from looking at Sheila’s work are her ability to balance colour across a wide range of colours, her skill at maintaining interest when working with limited tonal changes and, the one I most envy her ability to take a stack or pile of objects and lay them out so they look like a piece of art not just a pile of cast offs.
I have a friend that can place seashells on her bathroom shelves so they are elevated to the status of interior design ornament whilst my attempts to do the same look like something the kids have dumped after a trip to the beach, or some litter that needs to be swept up into the bin. Sheila and my friend Allyson are both amazing.
2. I actually had to drag myself away from the Modern Eccentrics blog, there is some very interesting stuff on there.
This big bundle is another natural dye project. On one hand I feel sad that this wrap no longer exists but fascinated by the fact that somewhere it’s contents have been transformed and are now part of some other considered pieces or sitting looking scrummy in a pile of fabric brimming with potential.
3. Our course materials focus on wrapping with thread, paper and other hand held items you can twist, like wire and elastic bands etc and this image from Eva Hesse opened my mind to the possibility of using more fluid elements to wrap (dip) with; glue, thick sandy paint, plaster of paris, fibres (dog hair – I think I might have a supplier!) mixed in glue, concrete. The possibilities are endless!
Mixtures of Natural & Manmade
I’ve just come to that point when I think I might have picked too much to write about but I’m going to plough on, unlike the rest of my county of Shropshire that seems to have leap on the idea of a snow day like hyenas on a fallen gazelle. I bet there’s not a loaf of bread to be found on the shelves of Waitrose.
Back to the research.
These packages make me think of the lovely Lotta and her little bundles of found objects, her OCA journey stopped far too soon, I know it took bravery and lots of thinking to make the decision to step down and, although I’m able to keep in touch with her beautiful work on Instagram I still miss her being part of our textile group.
1. All that yummy drift wood makes me happy in Aly de Groot’s piece, it’s all be built up with a delicate considered hand.
The colour contrasts are visually pleasing and the composition tells the stories of clogged beaches and winter storms. (I’m getting all lyrical now)
2. The middle piece is a funny old thing, it was part of a hoard of similar items found in the rubbish in Philadelphia in America, no one knows who the artist was, he/she’s referred to as the Philadelphia Wireman.
The maddest thing was there were 1200 of them, now that puts my moaning about making a handful of samples into perspective. And, also fascinating is the fact they were made in the late 1970’s, hear we are thinking we’re doing something edgy, new and provocative and here are 2 artists, one famous; Eva Hesse and one totally unknown way back before environmental art became so important and influential that it got its own categorisation.
Maybe this exert from an article on the Philadelphia Wireman explains what drove someone to make all of these little packages:
“From the moment Ollman laid eyes on Wireman’s sculptures, he felt a certain energy emanating from their cores. He noticed a relationship between the art objects and Nkisi, traditional Congolese power objects dating back to the 1400s. Most commonly, Nkisi are wooden figures with nails pounded into them, sprouting out in all directions like protective, spiky armor. But, as Ollman pointed out, there also exists a history of Nkisi as handheld, abstract objects of importance, often wrapped in twine or string or wire, incorporating reflective elements.
These types of objects habitually served as means of protection — talismans — often made by a shaman. “A person would go to a shaman and say I need intervention with this or that issue,” Ollman explained. “That shaman would then make something with certain types of energy in it.” The tradition is grounded in a culture with a strong belief in animism, that all things have a spiritual power to them.
“By combining these energies you make a more powerful energy,” Ollman continued. “That’s the sense we have of what’s going on in these works.”
Wireman’s sculptures combined the tradition of Nkisi with a contemporary homage to urban life, imbuing discarded detritus with supernatural force and thus, in a way, revitalizing the famously rough neighborhood in which they were found. Ollman also mentioned the resemblance of Wireman’s sculpturesto memory jugs, also popular in African American folk art. These jugs featured a medley of random objects collaged onto a water-holding vessel, and were sometimes left atop grave sites.”
Maybe by combining and wrapping carefully selected items, especially those we gather in response to the increasingly horrifying information that is coming to us about the damage we are doing to our land and, especially our seas, with our excessive use of throw away manmade items we can gather those energies and bring about change for good. Even if it’s only the banning of straws and ear buds.
3. And after all that worrying over the future how about hiding in away in a cave made of twigs. Here’s another artist who is very skilled at gathering and placing a quantity of similar components in such a considered way as it makes a beautiful piece of art. Tracey Deep makes delicate, ethereal and thought provoking installations that uses natural and floral elements.
Items made out of wrapped items.
Before I’d got my head full of all the influences above I felt I hadn’t got enough research material so I pulled together another batch of images where the artworks have been made out of wrapped items.
1. I couldn’t resist Karen Margolis‘ cocoon. As someone who’s stash of ephemera, treasure and, lets be honest, rubbish increases on a daily basis I’m very drawn to Karen’s practice of expanding and modifying her installation each time it is exhibited.
“With every new installation I add new scraps and materials from my studio so that the installation, now re-titled “Continuum”, is forever growing and continually transforming”
2. I never get bored of Chun Kwang Young’s epic sculptural works made out of small wrapped and dyed boxes. In 2015 his work was on display in Edinburgh and I was lucky enough to see it. Here’s my blog.
I can’t ever see myself having the patience to follow his process of building such huge compositions from such tiny pieces but I could experiment with making something more flat than the usual rounded or box like wrap.
3. Gwen Hedley – Embroidery, fibre art, Joyeria con Telas– jewellery, and Sheila Hicks all use similar wrapped linear ‘yarns’ as the main element in their pieces. I’ve never made jewellery, maybe that’s an idea I could explore as I develop my own samples.
4. Finally I was drawn to a sample, one made by Sophie Loughlin. That’s the beauty of Pinterest, you don’t get totally focused in on looking at famous and/or well publicised artists, it allows you to find your own little gems.
That’s enough, now I think I need a lie down before I go back over this blog and gather all the ideas and lines of inspiration that have fallen out of the gathering of research and writing that I’ve done here.
Stay safe everyone out there in first proper winter day I’ve seen for a long time.