I decided to look at the work of Karen Searle, it is interesting as this work like mine is knitted with copper wire and it is also an item of clothing.
The brief: I was asked to choose a piece of contemporary textile work and look carefully at it’s composition. Note what I see.
– How my mother dressed me –
First thing I see is five items of clothing hanging from a washing line.
The composition is a big rectangle divided in two. The top one is divided into three rectangles, the middle rectangle equals the two other added together. I think the artist has used the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. My eye is drawn straight to the middle top rectangle (the larger one) where the blue dress is in the center of the picture. The blue dress is wider and shorter than the others giving the piece the right balance. The colours the artist has used are in harmony: blue, red, yellow, orange and green, primary colours. The dresses are knitted in wire; making the knitted weave clear and visible – almost like a drawing. Considering there is five items of clothing on a line the piece appears minimal, uncluttered this is because the items of clothing are not opaque. The light is aloud to travel through the dresses bouncing on the plain white background that reflects the light creating shadows. In the bottom rectangle the artist has placed five images in an oval frame. From what I can see I think they are images of the artist as a child. These images along with the title of this piece give this installation a sense of a personal experience; memories and nostalgia of the artist childhood and her mother.
I enjoy the way this sculpture/installation has been displayed by simply placing it against a white wall. The wood of the washing line has been painted white to blend it with the background and allow the dresses and their colour to be the focus. The photographs are framed with a simple doddle like, thin line of wire – so it doesn’t distract from the main focus but adds that very importan hint of nostalgia.
As I look at the clothing and their shape I wonder if that tells me the approximate age of the artist, maybe she grew up in the forty’s or fifties? Or maybe her mum just enjoyed dressing her in tradicional clothes. By the look of the black and white pictures this could be a tell tell sign of the time the artist grew up. I have just noticed that the wire that has the pictures hanging has been crochet into what visually looks like lace adding a romantic and sentimental value to this work.