The innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care...
Tomorrow is my visiting artist talk at Northeastern Illinois University Art Gallery from 3pm -4:30pm, followed by the closing reception the next day with another of the artists attending. Anni Holm
will be bringing her performance piece Networking,
a gorgeous work that is part performance, part installation, and part community art. The reception's hours are 6-9pm. I hope you can make it to one of the events. While you are on campus, check out the yarn bombing created by the students!
It's been a pleasure to be in the show Woman's Work?
and has me thinking in what direction my art knitting will turn. More sculpture? Community art like The Red Thread Project
? Street art / yarn bombing? I don't actually know. I guess you could say I'm in flux at the moment - or twisted in a tangle if you would prefer a yarn pun. *grin*
Heather Weber, NEIU's gallery director and curator, wrote a wonderful essay for the show . As you many not have received one of the brochures, here is a copy:
The theme for this exhibition was
taken from a series by Lindsay Obermeyer which, in turn, was inspired by a text
entitled "Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and
Society" by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. (1) The title, Woman's Work?, in the
context of art, brings to mind the traditional (acceptable) forms of artmaking
by women such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. Endeavors such as these
not only have had to overcome the stigma of "craft" but also their
association with the feminine due to their ties to the home and to the family.
Yet while our customary idea of family has changed and "sewing arts"
have overcome their non-high art classification, there remains something
inherently familial, homey often, about these particular art forms. The three
artists chosen for this exhibition, Anni Holm, Mark Newport, and Lindsay
Obermeyer, share both their process-knitting-as well as the use of knitting as
a metaphor for our connection to one another.
Mark Newport knits several Costumes whose
bright colors, often recognizable symbols, and shape are reminiscent of the
super-masculine action heroes which picture largely in our childhood memories.
The concept of action hero speaks to the traditional notion of husband and
father as protector of the family. Not only do Newport's Costumes
remind us of heroes battling outside forces but also of our interior world, our
home. When juxtaposed with the medium of knitting the Costumes conjure
memories of the warmth and safety sought in our domestic environment through
their allusion to cozy blankets and warm sweaters. Due to the lack of an actual
body to fill these Costumes, when exhibited, they appear passive as they
hang limply from the gallery wall. Thus Newport creates performances which
"activate" the Costumes by showing himself in the process of
making and wearing them.
The connection of textiles to the traditional
role of woman finds its strongest voice in the work of Lindsay Obermeyer. For
Obermeyer's series entitled "Woman's Work" she addresses the
relationship between mother and child. For example, in her piece Twirlers
Obermeyer uses thread to create a sweater whose "breasts" extend and
pool onto the gallery floor. The resulting image is one in which the viewer is
invited to connect to the biological demands of motherhood as well as the
reality of an unending bond/giving of parent to child. Twirlers also alludes to
the demands upon one's time which can be problematic for an artist/parent.
Historically, for women, a choice must be made between their artwork and their
duties to their family. Obermeyer reconciles this dilemma by conflating the two.
- Barber, Elizabeth Wayland, Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years:
Women, Cloth, and Society, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1994.
About NEIU Art Gallery
The NEIU gallery is located at 5500 N. St. Louis
Avenue in building E in the northwest area of the campus. Parking is
free in parking lot F the night of the reception only. The Fine Arts
Center Gallery is a visual exhibition space committed to showing innovative
works of art in all media within a pluralistic, culturally diverse
setting. Fall gallery hours are 10am-5pm Mon-Fri. Please call 773-442-4944
or visit our website at www.neiu.edu/~gallery/ for more