I’m rolling a few weeks into one post this week as I’ve just returned from Easter break. I spent a large proportion of my break focusing on my contextual essay: Childhood, memory and art. I primarily looked at two key artists who have inspired me so far, Dorothea Tanning and Annette Messager. Before I went away I made a more abstract sketch of old photos from my childhood inspired by Tannings paintings (see FMP Week 2). During the holidays I then developed this into a fabric piece using several techniques I have experimented with previously: sewing, painting, monoprints, photos and text.
This piece again had that feeling of rosey nostalgia that I had come across in my quilt work. I think the pink of the curtain fabric was a little overpowering. But the blues and purples were reminders of flowers that used to grow around my childhood home. The striped shirt that I found with the curtain in a charity shop, created “candy-man” imagery in my mind and reminds me of Mary Poppins. I think the pin-stripe is also a classic nostalgic pattern, of fathers or grandfathers shirts. Yet I felt this piece was still to ridged in its composition and conformity to a predetermined set of lines and shapes. I then thought that to create a more raw, honest emotional response to my memories I needed to start with the textiles as purely the canvas/background to the paint. I was reminded of Rauschenberg’s bed which I had seen in my early research stage. And so I went about sewing a new quilt-like fabric still incorporating nostalgic materials and bear pieces – the bear a symbol of comfort, being picked apart and distorted through my arrangement of parts.
Then inspired by the anarchic nature of Rauschenberg’s combines I set to painting. I listened to music that reminded me of my early teenage years, and relaxed into the work, trying to allow my intuition to pick and layer colour. At one stage I had a picture come to mind: the doorway to my old home, the doorstep that was the gap between my father and my mother after the divorce, the drop off point, between two worlds of my existence. And so with a contrasting blue I painted it in. The picture still felt to perfect, so I cut into the fabric, I added more paint at the folds of the fabric, weighing it down. This is where I left it, to return if more inspiration strikes.
So my plan for next week? Let the fun continue! i’m enjoying this looser, more free approach to tackling my memories. I know that my focus needs to be on honesty and emotion, that is my aim.