Research Point: Conceptual approaches by textile practitioners.

I personally feel art has no rules, only societal rules. If art is created as a personal exercise then no rules need to be adhered to anything goes and anything is possible. The greatest artists have always pushed the rules of what art is and challenged their time. If it explains and satisfies the original need to create then that is all, if it then becomes accepted as art then that is an addition.

Duchamp’s ‘fountain’ 1917 was utterly shocking at the time but without works such as this, art would not continue to progress or be pushed. Rothko too challenged our ideas by presenting art that required us to feel it, as opposed to simply see it, a whole new perception of what art could be.

If on the other hand the only purpose to creating is to make money then absolutely rules apply, market, fashion, culture, but to me art is a need, a requirement something very personal that has to be done no matter what.

Vermeer didn’t follow his peers at the time. He produced paintings of normal everyday people though in so doing he died destitute leaving his family in debt. He was simply compelled to create the work for himself. Archimboldo is another example of an artist who was not influenced by what was considered acceptable art. His portraits compiled of a series of fruit or vegetables or even books and were like nothing else at the time, his work was however popular.

With current conceptual ideas of art, the idea behind a piece is I feel the most important aspect. The process needs to convey the idea but does not necessarily need to be technically accurate or perfect, techniques are often manipulated away from the traditional either by using a non traditional material with a traditional technique or by using traditional materials in non traditional ways.

Cornelia Parker created a series of bullet drawings. Each one created with a single lead wire drawn from a single bullet, woven and knotted these powerful images are a great example of bringing meaning to a piece simply by the use of the material itself.

Chiharu Shiota uses black threads to weave earie installations that reference dreamlike states. They seem to envelope everything that they come across, creeping through the space like a black cloud. Her work creates an overwhelming sense of foreboding within the viewer, the feeling created in her work is the overall outcome.

The uses of craft as a technique is often used to subvert ideas and preconceptions as in the work of Freddie Robbins mentioned in my previous post. Other artists work in a similar way, Rebecca Harris is one such artist who has used ‘nude’ tights to explore themes of the body and obesity something women are more prone to worry about with societies pressures to conform to a ‘normal’ view of beauty. Her work also explores our fears of the aging process and the natural changes our bodies go through, sagging, stretch marks etc.

Textile practitioners make clear choices with their materials as a way of conveying their ideas conceptually. The use of craft techniques, traditionally associated with women, are now often used to subvert those traditional views and challenge the way we think.