Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In the Works: Small Works

Colleen, the manager of the Memorial Art Gallery gift shop, e-mailed me a week or two ago about selling some of my work there during the upcoming quilt exhibition, Wild by Design, in January and February. I'll meet with Colleen on January 8th. I can take in some work I already have, but I'd rather seize this opportunity to dive into something new-- which is to create a series of 12" x 12" small works mounted on stretched canvas frames. I'm hoping that firing off a number of quick, improvisational works in a tight time frame can help me explore and develop my ideas about language imagery and provide inspiration for larger works in the future. So I started ripping some pale hand-dyed fabric into 14" x14" squares last weekend and got rolling. On this first sample I dug out the 2" and 4" stencils that I bought a while back and stencilled some block letters. They have potential -- seem to provide an interesting contrast to the more calligraphic language marks. I haven't decided whether to keep these looking like stencils or fill in the spaces, but I liked them so well that I purchased some larger ones this morning!I also explored a slightly different approach that would return to the calligraphic letters that I used in the Translations piece. This sample so far has just the first layer of color and pattern. I started by drawing a variety of letter forms from my imagination until I had about 12 that had the most appealing shapes. The little dark brown calligraphic shape on the larger white shape will get the edges burned like the letter forms on the piece below; then I will add some additional silkscreen and paint layers, masking off some areas to resist the additional layers of paint.

The burned calligraphic letter form originated with this small work that I recently completed, which is 13" by 36" inches; I'm envisioning doing a larger piece with many more blocks, each ground fabric a different hue but mid-range in value. Against that will be a dark value letter form framed by a light shape. If I do a larger piece like this one, I might add silk screened text behind or over a portion of the main calligraphic symbol or I may use resists like I did in the newest sample and add layers of varied types and sizes of text.

I burned the edges of these calligraphic shapes to give more of an aged, irregular edge to the forms. Since I am intrigued by ancient texts and the deterioration of objects through time, burning is an effective way to convey these ideas. I want to experiment with adding other burned details to my language pieces and will be working more with this over the next month.

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