Friday, October 29, 2010

Snapshots at the Pompidou

Painting 1

Many of you know that I traveled to Germany this summer in connection with Color Improvisations in which my work was shown. After the opening we continued our trip to Paris, France and enjoyed a week of museums, gardens and fun with family.

I was very impressed with the beautiful condition of many of the museums as my only other trip to France was in 1987 and much restoration has taken place since that time. While we enjoyed all the impressionist work which is in abundance, my favorite art was at the Pompidou Center in the Musee National D'Art Moderne.

One of the new features of the museums is that most allow you to take snapshots of the work in their permanent collections as long as you don't use your flash. I suspect that there is a lot of art on a lot of cell phones these days. This is all great fun but if most of the visitors are like me, they become so delighted in this opportunity that they don't take good notes and thus have images of work they admired but don't have the artists name to go with the image. Actually I took photographs of most of the labels but can't read them ;-( Being an artists who exhibits, this is a sad thing to have to admit.

So....having confessed to my sins, I want to share a few images of work I can not identify.

I want to start with the piece at the top of this article. My thinking is that the process of "piecing" fabric is All About Shape. All About Shape is the title of a workshop I am teaching this weekend and I have structured the course to show people how to generate shapes beyond squares. When I look at this painting it just makes me happy. This is a composition with shapes I believe most artist who work in fabric can relate to. The work demonstrate expert use of Repetition, Unity, Variety, Positive and Negative Space, Movement, Gradation etc. etc.

Painting 2

You can see from my badly cropped photo that this piece is very wide but only about 4' high. Interesting proportion I thought. I love the simplicity of the black and white and the beautiful overall texture created by the swirling marks. This made me think of the piece by Violet Cravasa in Color Improvisations. Violets quilt was pieced but I can see the creation of this surface in a resist or direct painting on fabric.

Painting 2 detail

Drawing 1

I am not a hundred percent sure at this point if this is a painting, drawing or print I just know I loved it and I'll call it a drawing! I love the subtle color of the "paper" and the marks, the erasures, the smudges and the energy. I also immediately saw an underlying structure in this piece that I relate to. Do you see it? This linework could be stitching or screened or or or....

Fabric Collage 1

I'm calling this piece a fabric collage because that is indeed what it is. There are corsets, petticoats, and other under garments arranged in relation to one another and is presented underglass. I could not tell if the fabrics has been treated in any way to keep them in place or even stitched. The fabric is discolored and beginning to discentegrate and this aging only added the the appeal for me as it is a way of marking time.

Fabric Collage 2

This is another example of a Fabric Collage that is more abstract and more worn. The fabrics are linen and cotten and very sheer but roughly woven. There are stains and tears and patches throughout. This work reminded me of a dress that Dorothy Caldwell show in a class I attended last summer. Dorothy is known for the massive amount of handstitching she incorporates in her work and her love of handwork as a labour of love done by women all over the world. This Fabric Collage referenced work, distress, trials and tribulations and stitching to hold things together.

Fabric Collage 2 detail

These are only a few of the images I collected and my apologies to the artists for not being able to share there names. I chose these specific images because to my eye, each one of them has a direct tie to textiles, textile processes or because they simply made me think of textile potential.

There is lots and lots of discussion by artists who work in textiles about wanting to show their work is museums and galleries but being turned away because many of these venues don't show textiles. The shows we saw at the Pompidou Center demonstrated that it can happen. We just have to keep working and spreading the word.

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  1. Hi Terry,
    I can't help but notice that you went from "Color Improvisations" straight to limited palette of neutrals. Interesting.

  2. I love these, especially Painting #1. Wow!

  3. Thanks Gayle and Leslie! I am always attracted to work that references textiles. As to the neutral palette, I think it had more to do with the collection I was viewing but I do love a neutral palette as well.

  4. Hi Terry,
    Thanks for posting these images. I guess my faves were painting #2 and the collage with corsets, petticoats, etc. Those garments look very old (of course)and it's strange to think about the long-dead flesh they pressed into shape or decorated. That resonance is very much present in the discoloration and deteriorated look of the pieces as well as their wrinkles, distortions and plain old dirt.

  5. Thank you Nancy for your wonderful insights. Yes. The fabric in the collage pieces were once not only the posessions of living people but worn by them. I really appreciated your insights about stains, dirt and the discoloration from time. So much beauty generated by decay. It's one of those poetic and unlikely combinations.

  6. Terry, the Beaubourg is my favorite museum and the first (usually only) museum stop when I'm in Paris. They know how to take a fresh look at things and their collections are always thought-provoking; never boring. I come away with a new way of seeing - so thanks for posting and sharing the joy.

    I can see why you love that first piece -- I love it, too. Just wish I knew who the artist was/is.

    I have posted this on behalf of Rayna Gillman. My blog won't let her comment.....bad blog, bad blog.

  7. Most of your blog posts are like small art lessons for me, an outsider who is trying to learn while I create. Thank you for teaching and sharing.

  8. Diana, Thank you for your wonderful comment. I am so happy to share and delighted it is meaningful for you. Terry