Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On the art of recycling ...

I am a staunch supporter of recycling and have created many works of art incorporating recycled elements. I have even recycled my own recycled-object-filled artworks and here I am doing it once again.

The work on the far right of the photo is made from a dressmaker's mannequin wearing a paper dress that has been adorned with tiny objects. The piece is entitled 'Slip' and is a self portrait I created a few years ago for a collaborative work created with Leap Visual Artists called 'Circle of Journeys'. The paper I used to create the dress came from my calendar, journal, artist statements, contracts, letters, prescriptions, newspapers, recipe and greeting cards, paintings, sketches, children's homework assignments, etc. and also from photographs of my family, historical images from magazines, books, and postcards, and a few pieces were made from articles of clothing belonging to myself, my children, and my grandmother. The papers and fabrics were cut into diamond shapes and stitched together in a harlequin pattern. The machine stitching was then enhanced with hand stitched embroidery, and where each corner of the diamond shapes meet, I used needle and thread to attach a tiny object from the drawers, floors, cupboards, pickle jars, beautiful but cracked teacups, and other storage areas of my home/life.

I used the harlequin pattern to symbolize myself as the clown in my life story; the patchwork and stitching to symbolize my traditional role as a homemaker/mother/salvager; the embroidery symbolizes my traditional role of the family member responsible for "making nice" and for attempts to improve or "pretty up" the banality of routine household life; the flotsam at intersecting points represents the infinite number of tiny but important decisions mothers make on a daily basis with regards to "do I keep this, toss it, store it for future use/reference or for sentimental reasons, for just in case or just because?"

Needless to say, Slip was created by means of a laborious process and was truly a labour of love/insanity, and as it says a lot about who I am and where I've come from, I am only too delighted to be recycling for forthcoming artistic efforts.

Slip will reappear as an element in a new work I'm creating - 'Girl Before a Mirror' (title and concept borrowed from Picasso). This work will be exhibited in October at Place des Artes in Coquitlam in Leap Visual Artists Collective's Memory & Narrative exhibition, and again in February at the Firehall Centre for the Arts as part of my solo exhibition 'After Picasso'.

I've just finished stretching and priming the three tall panels in the photo - they will be hinged to represent a 3 way mirror and I'm rubbing my hands together with the excitement and challenge of painting upon them a distorted reverse image of Slip.

I'll keep you posted as to the progress I make over the next 3 weeks.


andrea said...

I see you've been busy with those panels! This is exciting and I love that something you have put so much work, thought and lifeblood into can be recycled in such a clever way. Your contributions to the upcoming exhibition are going to be unique and thought-provoking. I can hardly wait to see them completed and assembled.

Angela Rockett said...

This is very, very cool. I look forward to seeing the canvas "mirror".

Bronwyn said...

Wow, a lot of thought has gone into this, plus a whole lot of physical work. I hope it is still being treasured.