In this exercise I have been asked to find four images of work that I feel challenge conventional labels and write a personal responce to each image. The first one is by Zoe Buckman who uses tradicional embroidery to express issues like feminism. In this picture of one of her exhibitions -every curve – ( in Los Angeles) Buckman explores the contradictory and complimentary influences of feminism and hip-hop in her upbringing. As I see it, this body of work challenges conventional labels as it is displayed as a sculpture installation that triggers a responce; with it’s tradicional embroidery on the lingierie from the 1920s through the 1970s (relics from our past) with violent and misogynistic messages from Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. The lingerie is beautiful but represents the objectification of women. I enjoy that Zoe Buckman has made sculpture out of textiles and has been able to voice and send such powerful messages through such delicate textiles. I don’t think that I need to label people’s work for me to understand it. The moment I start labelling people’s work I feel I lose the spark. But I do understand that I need to see the difference in each visual art practice to be able to describe or talk about a body of work in great detail and start learning to be more analytical about of the art around me & my own.
The second image is Tord Boontje’ three dimensional light made out of cutting paper. The overlapping feather shapes resemble a swan’s wing. Tord Form is interested in creating elements for everyday life that are exiting and uplifting to live with. He has a studio that works with international companies on a range of products like; lighting, graphic identity, textiles, ceramics, site-specific installations, and furniture. I think this light crosses the boundaries between disciplines as it is hard to define what discipline it belongs to. Is it sculpture? Textiles?or interior design? I think it’s all of them. It could be classed as a textile as Tord Boontje uses slashing or cutting paper, thus creating a texture that could be easily translated into textiles. It is sculpture as it is a three dimensional form made out of paper. I admire his use of paper in such a clever way, and may I add a safe way. I do enjoy the way he makes ordinary items that we use for our daily living so extraordinary! He makes it look so easy. His pieces are art in their own right.
The above photo is Debbie Smyth’s work. Is it a painting? Is it sculpture? Maybe textiles? Or maybe fine art? I think Debbie Smyth is a classic at crossing labels and boundaries between disciplines. Debbie’s work could be positioned simultaneously in both; the craft and fine art fields. Debbie Smyth is a textiles artist, identifiable by her statement thread between accurate placed pins, thus creating beautiful, fun illustrations full of energy and movement. Her work is contemporary art. I like the way she makes the thread look like knots and mess; yet as as you step away from the picture it becomes clear and alive. Her illustrations are fun & humorous. Her images are spectacular. Observing artist who blur or break the boundaries between art disciplines excites me! They are pushing the materials to the edge to see how far they can go. They take risks. Debbie Smyth not only pushes the material in this case, thread, but also plays with scale, making her installations perfect for galleries, corporate companies and public spaces. I do wonder how long it takes her to plan a drawing with thread and how she calculates the precision on where to put her pins in the wall? Getting the right tention would be so important!
The image above is one of Philip Tracey’s hat for the Alexander McQueen collection. I chose this one because I had the honour of going to see it at the V&A a few years back. It is so beautiful. Philip Treacy crosses the labels and boundaries between disciplines as his hats can easily be seen as sculptures, three dimensional pieces of art. They can also be textile pieces as Philip Treacy uses so many different materials and media. For Alexander McQueen’s collection, Philip Treacy used a range of materials like feathers, horse hair, banana fibre, straw & ram’s horns. Philip Treacy once said that he drew with these materials like he was drawing with pencil. Philip Treacy and Alexander Mc Queen both pushed materials and design to their limits thus creating pieces of art with very exiting outcomes. In this picture Philip Treacy uses turkey feathers, each one of them painted by hand. I adore the vibrancy of the chosen colours for the butterflies! Philip Treacy is the worl’s most in demand hat designer, designing hats to flatter and enhance the wearer. Reading information from the V&A page online I came across a quote by Philip Treacy ‘people who are fearless can get away with more’. Hence, the ingredients to crossing boundaries and labels within different disciplines seem to be; take risks, be fearless and push the materials and media as far as it would go.
Food for thought!
Unfortunately, I haven’t done the mixed media course with OCA yet so I haven’t been able to pick some of my work to see if any of my work crosses any boundaries between disciplines. I think in general, my work tends to be quite pictorial and comercial maybe predictable? That’s why I thought it might be beneficial to do this course as it will enable me to stop and think about my future projects in a more analytical way. Below is a yarn sample that I did for textiles as a Vocabulary. I suppose in a small way this would cross boundaries between disciplines as I used un-conventional materials like my hand made soaps and a scourer. Maybe it also resists labels associated with categories of visual art as in a bigger scale it could be viewed as sculpture. I suppose I could change the viewer’s understanding of the work by giving the work a contrary label like “Dirty”
Below is another sample from textiles as a Vocabulary. This sample is made out of fabric, achieving a three Dimensional structure. Maybe if I where to introduce some of the petals made in metal or even concrete it would change the sample to a sample that crosses boundaries in between textiles and sculpture and even jewellery. I think it’s fair to say that although I have taken risks in the past with colour, there is still room to challenge myself and stretch the media that I work with. This exercise is helping me to be more analytical about my work and in turn make me question where I could stretch myself further.
This next one below is a piece that I did of my dresser. This one draws on two visual art disciplines which are, painting with watercolours and sewing on paper & fabrics. I enjoy working with paper, fabric & stitch. I wonder if I could introduce poetry in my work or even words that I enjoy- what would the outcome be. I look forward to experimenting more.
Looking at my work so far I can’t find any other examples of crossing boundaries. In the past I have introduced jewellery making with metal to fabrics and garment construction and that would of been me crossing boundaries in visual arts. I have never been aware of me doing so as I never really separated the visual arts practices in my head. When I create I don’t think about it. But after doing this exercise I will be thinking about it more. In the past apart from looking at my work and seeing what worked and what didn’t I haven’t analysed it further than that. I have always struggled with being analytical, it is not one of my strong points at all, which is interesting as my dad always said ‘think with your head and not your heart’. When it comes to art; I instantly think with the heart and the Spanish side of me comes out and thinks about my passion. Is that something I need to curb? Manage? Or something that should be allowed to flourish?
Above is a sketch I have done while looking at the blossoms of my cherry tree in my garden. As I was drawing with the blossoms and some twigs I could identify with the tree. I feel like after a dormant and dark winter “I am like the tree blossom, Full of energy and beauty (well maybe in my case not the beauty) standing proud -not for long mind you- As I find I have to use the short window productively so that after the blossom is well and gone I produce the right fruits! This picture is drawn with flowers so eventually they will loose it’s lusciousness, ritcheness & colour. I originally made this sample for exercise 1.1, but I realised that this is a mixed media sample not necessarily a piece that draws on two or more visual art disciplines. I guess, if instead of flower petals I used fabric & stitch it would of crossed more than one visual art disciplines. This is harder than I thought!
This is a sample of a quick sketch of some bluebells in my garden. Thinking of producing a sample with two or more visual art disciplines was very hard. I think in the past I have done it unconsciously. Stopping & thinking what visual disciplines I my using before I do any work, will take getting used to.
As soon as I think of labels I immediately get a mental block. I find labels stifling! They almost restrict my creativity. At this point the only advantage of labels is to be able to describe and analyse a piece of work in great depth. This exercise has helped me stop and think about all the visual art disciplines and how I could use them together in the future.
The sample above is a water colour and ink sketch; crossing the boundaries with textiles and embroidery (if I was to develop it further). I originally was going to use a photograph that I took of the bluebells instead of sketching it. Using a photograph with fabrics and stitch would have also crossed the boundaries of photography and textiles.
Above I tried to do a sample with words and quotes after looking at the work of Ghada Amer who often uses photography, sculpture and textiles, exploring themes of feminism. I drew a sketch of a selfie of my daughter in thread. I was working on the idea; of how we take selfies and how they are seen as a vain act. The truth is that often, instead of feeling confident and in love with ourselves, the reality can be that we are full of self loathing and insecurities. The contradiction of feeling confident as woman and then having conflicting messages from the media around us intrigues me. I drew some butterfly wings on my daughter as they are delicate and fragile symbolising the delicacy of our freedom and comfidence. Behind in hand writing there are quotes of professional and high profile women in the visual arts. At first I wasn’t sure if this sketch sample would resist labels associated with categories of visual art but after analysing it I think I have changed my mind. It does, as it has words, it’s painted and it has textiles and stitch. It’s all making sense now, it’s all sinking in and I can see how the media, film, literature, music & art can all inspire ideas and even the processes to determine an exciting outcome.
Phew! It took me a while to warm up!