Weekly roundup 10 April 2016

The big thing this week was my video tutorial with Rebecca (8-Apr-2016). Very helpful. A lot of thinking time on it since, including realising that there is still a lot of unfinished business for MMT. I need wind back a bit on the transitioning and keep some focus on the immediate tasks.

So I’ve been trying to research current Australia Post rules, done some shopping research and have a new toy tool hopefully to be delivered tomorrow, and have stalled on drawing while I finish up the sketchbook.

Paper yarn project

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  • 4/4 Newspaper used by Rachel to wrap art deco cup & saucer
  • 5/4 (actually 3 am next day) Very tired, went to sleep early, but woke in night. Grocery shopping docket. Liked the feel and effect so went and found another. Could be an interesting project and commentary on consumerism – all shopping (? only grocery) dockets for a period.
  • 6/4 No paper came to hand, but I was able to use the (textile) braided handles of a paper carry bag (new supply of French Earl Grey). I expected the orange to shout, but the linen thread calmed it slightly and there are hints of orange in earlier sections. I like the shaping at this point.
  • 7/4 Finally unwrapped my MMT samples, preparing for the video tutorial. Used some of the brown paper, and tried some more adventurous shaping.
  • 8/4 Express Post envelope
  • 9/4 Local newspaper – mostly property advertising. The paper was very soft, easily torn and hard to work with. I’d started excited by the colour – lots of green and blue – but I wouldn’t be keen to do a larger project with it.
  • This week there are better quality photos – definitely worth getting out the camera, not just using my tablet which has trouble with my workroom lighting.
    I’m enjoying this little gathering point in each day, a minor meditation.

    Lectures, exhibitions, performances
    There should have been a lecture, part of the Collectors and Collections series at AGNSW, but I mixed up dates and missed it 😦

    I visited the MCA for a second look at some works which I felt rushed on first time round.

    GRAYSON PERRY – My Pretty Little Art Career
    There’s a lot to see in this exhibition and I’ll only touch on a few points that particularly struck me.

    One was how foreign an apparently similar culture can be. There’s a lot of linked history and the base of colonial Australia, the same woman as queen, I have an English mother, have lived in the UK a few times for a few years in total, watch lots of TV and so on, but many of the references were totally unfamiliar and not particularly meaningful to me.

    It was interesting to be able to see a few of Grayson Perry’s sketchbooks. I was particularly taken with the translation of a work from sketchbook page to massive tapestry.

    Grayson Perry sketchbook

    Grayson Perry sketchbook


    Grayson Perry The Upper Class at Bay

    Grayson Perry
    The Upper Class at Bay

    One is a double page spread in an A4-ish sized sketchbook. The other is 200 x 400 cm.

    I’ve wondered before about the use of tapestry by contemporary artists. In an exhibition of Chuck Close I found the tapestry lacking in emotion, not adding anything new (25-Mar-2015). It seemed an easy way to get scale. Not exciting to a textile person.

    Grayson Perry Walthamstow Tapestry (section)

    Grayson Perry
    Walthamstow Tapestry (section)

    The photo above shows just over half of The Walthamstow Tapestry. The work is 300 x 1500 cm.

    In a way this makes more sense to me. It is packed with allusions to all sorts of aspects of British culture. It is huge – and yet it has the connotations of domestic textile. I suppose in other works Perry’s pottery works in the same way. Skewering a society at the same time as being a close part of it. All the awful details of suburbia and domesticity uncovered and displayed in appalling detail and scale.

    Artists in the 20th Biennale
    Noa Eshkol
    I’m fairly confident a large reason for the inclusion of this artist is her movement notation – performance is a significant strand in this Biennale. However the “wall carpets” are interesting in their own right.

    Noa Eshkol  The First Flower

    Noa Eshkol
    The First Flower

    The work on the left “The First Flower” could well be the first work in the series. It is from 1973, and it was during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 that Eshkol began making the carpets. The only male member of her dance group was conscripted, and Eshkol decided it was no time to dance. The assemblages use found and scrounged fabrics and Eshkol never cut them. Instead she would layer and fold, and her dancers would stitch the work together.

    Noa Eshkol  The First Flower (detail)

    Noa Eshkol
    The First Flower (detail)

    Apart from the date, my reasoning for believing it is the first is the fairly traditional use of a blanket base with much of it uncovered by collaged material, and the nature of the stitching. Click on the photo on the right to see a better detail. A single, highly visible colour is used and as well as blanket stitch there are variants which approach the herringbone which seems to be used consistently in later works.

    Noa Eshkol

    Noa Eshkol

    Later works had greater coverage of the base and more complex composition. On the left above is Window to the Sea (1975), on the right Window to the Night (1981).

    Noa Eshkol  stitch details

    Noa Eshkol
    stitch details

    Details of the same two works are shown above. Herringbone stitch seemed to be used throughout. In the earlier work thread colours changed to blend into the fabric below, and my observation was that this seemed to be the standard approach in most works. However on the right both blending burgundy and contrasting green have been used in different areas of the piece, making the line a more active component in the work. I’m not sure if these decisions were made by Eshkol or by individual stitchers.

    All of the works shown above were human in scale, less than my height, narrower than my outstretched arms. Two works shown, both from 1995, were much larger.

    Noa Eshkol  The Four Seasons

    Noa Eshkol
    The Four Seasons

    The fabrics used in the works were found around homes or offcuts collected from factories. There is a huge variety, from some that could be from uniforms, other from summer dresses or occasionally something more luxurious. They show a picture of the place and time they were made, even the designs of the clothing given the use of uncut pieces.

    Noa Eshkol  Bush at Night

    Noa Eshkol
    Bush at Night

    My favourite work was the latest in date, Bush at Night from 2002, which is back at human scale. The use of stripes, the shape of the fabric pieces, the way a frame has been created, all combine to create a very pleasing picture.

    Helen Marten

    Helen Marten Smoke Description (2015)

    Helen Marten
    Smoke Description (2015)


    The more I looked at this work the more I found. It was probably about the same level of bewilderment throughout.

    The descriptive information includes words like eclectic, ambitious, readymade, hand crafted, found… I am flummoxed and intrigued. I would like to learn and see more.

    Shahryar Nashat, Parade. A video of a performance, this was based on an original work from early last century that has gone through two processes of translation. The result is hard to describe but fascinating to watch.

    Reading
    Finished the Claire Falkenstein book. My original research on this artist was posted 11-Mar-2016. The best thing about this book was the many large, clear photographs. There were some interesting essays too. I continue to find Falkenstein very exciting both in her work and in her work processes. Risk taking, following her own ideas, experimenting in many media… There are ideas around exploding the volume – no longer a solid mass; kinetic, with the potential for viewer involvement (this suggests to me engaging haptic as well as optic senses, unlike much 20th century art, and could be part of what attracts me to her work); the combination of scultural and graphic processes. Drawing in three dimensions… I could benefit from spending some time developing drawing techniques based on her work (similar to exercise done with Ruth Hadlow based on John Bokor (25-Feb-2016).
    The Falkenstein Foundation (2012) Claire Falkenstein Los Angeles: The Falkenstein Foundation

    Ongoing: Fer, B. (1997) On abstract art New Haven and London: Yale University Press. This is turning into a rocky road. A lot of Freudian analysis, to which I react with impatience. Now on to a section on Eva Hesse, which I find more engaging.

    6 Responses to “Weekly roundup 10 April 2016”


    1. 1 Lottie April 11, 2016 at 12:33 am

      I’m reading/listening to Grayson Perry’s ‘Playing to the Gallery’. I am endeared to his tone and digs at The Art World. My mum saw those tapestries at the British Museum hanging next to the ancient tapestries that he used as starting point and was intrigued by his contemporary references – the sure-footedness of his starting point I suspect enabled her to engage with a work that she might otherwise have dismissed. Interesting that you note the cultural ‘foreignness’ for want of a better word.

      • 2 fibresofbeing April 19, 2016 at 10:46 pm

        How do you find all the text Grayson Perry uses? I found the detail overwhelming, it just turned into some kind of mental fuzz, but I’m sure could be rewarding if one put in the effort to read it.

        • 3 Lottie April 20, 2016 at 1:54 am

          Little trick… l don’t always get left alone when I’m reading (ok hardly ever) so I listen to books on audible while I’m doing a chore – amazingly I’m left alone hoovering, washing, cleaning…If I’m listening to a text that really captures my interest I find a paper copy to then I can copy or reread quotes that literally catch my ear. I have the Grayson text as the original lectures/ talks he did from audible. He is quite fun to listen to and when I haven’t got it I can either reredos section or rewind.

    2. 4 JulieB April 11, 2016 at 6:36 am

      And on a simpler level, how incredible is that translation from Grayson Perry’s sketchbook to full sized tapestry. Intrigued by the Eshkol pieces, a new name to me. Great post, a real mix of ideas and stimulus – full of admiration for your creative momentum.

    3. 5 fibresofbeing April 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      Fascinating to see the changes as well as the parts and overall feel that were translated. I’d love to know more about the process – how involved he is with all the technical detail and decisions needed to ensure a stable weave structure.


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