Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Talk@Zijdelings
Art Practice

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction
I gave a talk about my art and art practice at Zijdelings (Tilburg, The Netherlands) on the 19th September 2012. I want to thank Karina van Vught for giving me the opportunity to meet so many enthusiastic Dutch cloth artists in my short stay at Zijdelings.

Some of the participants at my talk at Zijdelings.

The talk below is a brief glimpse of what transpired and so a lot of the details of the ArtCloth works have been omitted in order to make this lengthy blog more readable. Nevertheless, it does give you a flavour of the event.

It was a real pleasure to exchange ideas and points of view about art with the participants who attended the talk. Next week I shall give you a glimpse of the demonstration of my MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique at Zijdelings.

Marie-Therese


A Brief Synopsis of My Talk – My ArtCloth Continuum of Themes
Today I am going to talk about my background, my art and art practice that I have encapsulated under the heading - “My ArtCloth Continuum.”

My ArtCloth Continuum.

A little more information about my background: I have authored and illustrated artist printmakers’ books – Not in My Name and Beyond the Fear of Freedom. My written articles have appeared in journals such as “Textile Fibre Forum”, “Fibreline’”, “Craft Arts International” and “Literature and Aesthetics”. In 2007 I was invited to be the inaugural guest editor of Jane Dunnewold’s international e-zine ”HeArtCloth Quarterly”.

My ArtCloth and works on paper have been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and are held in major public and private collections in Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Sweden, Thailand and the USA.

Some of my written works.

There is a "Continuum" of the themes that I research, which are the basis of my current ArtCloth works. The themes explore contemporary socio-political urban landscapes as well as prehistoric and natural environmental landscapes. In some artworks, I juxtapose the three.

My Post-Graffiti urban landscapes and my early civilization and pre-historic artworks employ dyeing, discharge, stenciling, screen-printing, digital imaging and other processes on natural fibers.

My ArtCloth Practice Continuum.

Next I will detail some of the “complex cloth” processes that I employ to create these artworks and I will demonstrate later - the MSDS processes that I use in my environmental landscape ArtCloth works.

White undyed fabrics such as cotton, linen, hemp and rayon have been bound in various modes ready to be placed in a Procion MX immersion dyebath.

Bound fabrics.

After the fabrics have been unbound, washed and stabilized, they are then bound again and immersed in a second Procion MX dyebath.

Fabrics over-dyed in a second dye bath.

The overdyeing process is normally repeated a third time so as to give fabrics a rich, complex, deeply hued and patterned background on which to begin the next stage of the layered printing process. In the slide below you can see the results on cloth when using various colors and binding techniques.

Dyed and over-dyed fabrics.

The next stage involves the printing of multiple layered imagery using a combination of techniques that can include: silk screening, stamping, stenciling, hand painting, resist, digital transfers, foiling and/or other surface design treatments to create the richly layered and complex surface of my ArtCloth works.

Printed surface layers.

I will now give you a very brief overview of the conceptual underpinning my ArtCloth works.

I have explored ArtCloth as an artistic expression for over two decades. A powerful focus for me has been the concept of creating ArtCloth of great integrity, depth and complexity, whilst at the same time respecting its delicate yet powerful qualities.

It is within this framework that I created a solo exhibition – CODES – in Australia in 2001. It was exhibited in a number of galleries (e.g. WattSpace Gallery, Facets Gallery etc.) but currently it is not on display. Codes – Lost Voices explores the fragmentary and fragility of our knowledge of lost civilizations.

Codes – Lost Voices. An ArtCloth installation@Watt Space Gallery.

At the outset I built the installation around a set of three triptychs highlighting “ambiguous”, “unfathomable” and “iconic” pictograms of past communities and civilizations. It took three years for the installation to be completed.

These artworks were to be physically large in size so to over-power the viewer. They were layered with a large number of images to intrigue the viewer and were bright as well as lively so as to make you feel that they are talking to you in the “present” and not in some distant, faded past. Here you can see part of the Installation at Watt Space Gallery in Newcastle. For further details about the conceptual aspect of the installation and details of the individual artworks - see my post: Codes – Lost Voices.


Following on my "Continuum" of the themes that I research, I will now talk about my Post Graffiti artwork.

My world-view is often through the eyes of the forgotten, the discarded, the marginalized or the misrepresented in both the urban and environmental landscape and so conceptually it often sits on socio-political boundaries. I operate my artistic skill set on these thoughts to project conceptual landscapes on the cloth medium.

In 2001 I started to work on art issues that have surfaced in the street art movement - more commonly known as Graffiti Art. The installation, titled - Another Brick - was exhibited at Watt Space Gallery in Newcastle in 2004 and subsequently at the Ewart Gallery in Sydney in 2005.

The birth of my Post Graffiti Artwork - Another Brick.

The installation consisted of thirteen lengths measuring approximately 3 to 4 meters in length by 1 to 2 meters in width. They were displayed on building safety construction fences in order to emphasize an urban or street feel to the work. For more detailed information about this body of work – see my post: Another Brick.

ArtCloth works displayed on safety construction fences (Watts Space Gallery).
Left: Street Hearts. Right: Urban Mark-Making.

My latest ArtCloth works I have labelled under the title “Neu Kunst”, since these are Post Graffiti deconstructed works and so constitute a new art direction for me.

Neu Kunst: deconstructed Post Graffiti artwork.

Currently only two out of the three ArtCloths pieces have been completed, namely “Neu Kunst Mona” and “Neu Kunst Marilyn” - with the third on the way.

The Art Cloth piece - “Neu Kunst Mona” - investigates the influence of the fine art world on the street art of Graffiti and the Post Graffiti movement. The piece centers on various Artists’ attitudes towards da Vinci’s - Mona Lisa.

In creating the piece, I have used multiple complex layers of printed, stenciled, painted, resist, mark making and distress techniques to create the heavily textured and dense surface.

Neu Kunst Mona – the complete image.

The next piece in this series centers on Marilyn Monroe. She was more than just a movie star or glamour queen. A global sensation in her lifetime, Marilyn's popularity has extended beyond star status to that of an icon. Today, the name "Marilyn Monroe" is synonymous with beauty, sensuality and effervescence.

Once again I have used multiple complex layers of printed, stenciled, painted, resist, mark making and distress techniques to create the heavily textured and dense surface.

Neu Kunst Marilyn – the complete image.

For more detailed views of both of these ArtCloth works – see my post - Unleashed: The Rise Of Australian Street Art.

Following on my "Continuum" of the themes that I research, I will now talk about my environmental art.

MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) ArtCloth works.
The backdrop to this slide is my Flames Unfurling ArtCloth work.

Over the past decade and more, I have been experimenting with hand printing techniques using disperse dyes on synthetic/polyester fabrics. These experiments have led to one of my new signature techniques that I have developed and termed - MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) which will be the focus of my demonstration (see next weeks blog).

This is one of the techniques that I taught at the Surface Design Association's Confluence conference last year titled – Melding Experiences: New Landscapes Using Disperse Dyes and Transfer workshop. I have also taught this signature technique at other national conferences, textile forums, textile groups and within university courses.

Basically the MSDS technique employs disperse dyes and involves hand printing multiple resists and multiple overprinted layers employing numerous color plates and plant materials. The completed works are rich in colour, light, shade, contrast, movement and depth. The multiple layers also imbue a painterly aesthetic and textural, three-dimensional quality to the finished ArtCloth works.

I will only talk of the concept behind one such work – since there are numerous other MSDS ArtCloth works listed on this blogsite – for example see:
When Rainforests Ruled
Wangi's Djirang
Merge And Flow
Flames Unfurling
Selected Disperse Dye ArtCloths
Sequestration of CO2

The MDSD’s ArtCloth work - "Nura Nura" - reminds us that like many non-coastal locations in Australia, Nura Nura Crossing in northeast Western Australia is isolated. It boasts of no facilities nor recreational activities. To date there is no evidence of feral animals, insects or weeds invading the landscape. This work is a tribute to the harsh landscape, where despite extremes of temperature and rainfall, plant life continues to thrive in all its glory.

Nura Nura.
Nura and Nura was exhibited at Purple Noon Art Gallery from August to September 2012, with 23 other ArtCloth works.

When Rainforests Ruled - framed Artworks and ArtCloth wall hangings on the back wall of Purple Noon Art and Sculpture Gallery.

Each component of "My ArtCloth Continuum" is linked to the other: prehistoric art can be thought of as mark making on walls; urban and street art in some cases overlap and replicates some of the features of pre-historic art in the sense it is documenting an experience, but of course offers unique twists and turns; the environmental landscape gives us the air we breathe and in most cases, delivers to us the protein and trace elements we need to survive. Moreover, plants will quickly subsume any crack or fissure in the urban landscape of man-made structures if unattended. Plant life would be rampant and rainforests would rule - if only we would allow it.

In summary I hope I have given you a glimpse, an insight, into "My ArtCloth Continuum".

My ArtCloth Continuum.

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge and thank Karina van Vught for inviting me to share my thoughts and work with you today at her Zijdelings Studio in beautiful Tilburg.



I hope you have enjoyed the talk and that your own artwork continues to blossom. Thank you!

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