Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sow's Ear

Dried roses

Rose paper foundation for sculpture... in process.

I am buried under paper. The part of this job that is the most difficult for me is articulating what my work is about. This week proposals are colliding with artist's statements and course descriptions. Not to mention income tax!

They have to be done and need to look new and original. Each show requires a personality of it's own.

I try hard to do experimental and unique work for every show but there is an unintentional flow from one body of work to the next. I don't think I am stuck or simply regurgitating a theme but there is a central core to everything I do. Recently someone said that my work looked very "Patricia Chauncey" and then in the same week another friend said that the work looked just like me. Both meant that in a caring way and that is how it was received. But I don't know what that means.

I know what it is about my work that people are compelled by. It is visceral. Not intentionally for shock value but it does. There is an element of playfulness while addressing subjects like pain, disease, natural process, the erotic and personal history. There is the rhythm of obsessive surface. It is also narrative when presented in series. The series flow from one to the other. People who view my work are often return visitors not known to me personally. They come back to my shows year after year and even travel a long ways to see them.

So my challenge is to tell people what they will see when they come to my show. Spin. Invitation. It is the same with course descriptions. This is what you will get to do when you come play with me. Our date will be completely scripted.

I confess to loving disasters during a workshop. Once the whole region had a power failure. Electricity is needed for most of my workshops. All dozen of us trooped through the little town and looked for textural surface, example of decay, natural and contrived colour palettes and went and had tea in my little apartment. The course evaluations were smashing. Another workshop set off the fire alarms and sprinklers in a building filled with office workers. A student was enthusiastically and frantically burning and altering fabric and tossing it into a common pile. She didn't pay attention to my rule of making sure that the smolder was out before moving it off the burn tray. Again it resulted in fabulous evaluations and comments.

People don't take my workshops unless they need a little adrenalin rush. Extreme textiles don't appeal to the delicate personality. The workshops attract people who want to experiment but have the safety net of my support to learn new skills. They want to play with the wilder side of their creative desire. They want something more action packed. They want to master something that is unpredictable.

So my challenge is to describe what I am trying to do without making it sound like a comic book or a version of "Girls Get Wild with Purple Hats".

The other challenge is to remember not to tell all my naughtier textile secrets.

For those interested the next workshop will be held at the Quesnel Art Gallery on June 4th and 5th. The show will open on the June 3rd.


arlee said...

GAWDAMX i would love to take one of your workshops P----need to get some Techno back :)

material witness said...

We just need a good, solid play date my friend. Twill happen!