The tapestries and paintings I am working on deal with the notion of textiles represented and re represented in the medium of woven tapestry.
I'm using iconic tapestry, such as the Lady and the Unicorn suite of tapestries as a starting point for the work.
Referencing and reinterpreting the compositions is a way to transform, and contextualise my work, while also creating a fusion of the medium of tapestry through time.
In my work, I have included an interpretation of hand spun and knitted jumpers from my childhood, whilst combining contemporary graphics of "My Little Pony". With particular emphasis on the unicorn characters, “Princess Celestia” and “Rarity”, and others.
This too is a way of combining the traditional idea of "tapestry" with a contemporary and fresh popular culture.
By focusing on male portraits instead of female portraits, I feel as though this might subvert some stereotypical ideas.
Traditionally men in tapestries are usually either soldiers, noblemen or hunters. In these tapestries of mine, I like to represent young, contemporary men whose concerns are very far from warfare and hunting. These are boys, not quite men, with sensitive faces who wear clothes with unicorn motifs. Although there is some speculation over the unicorns represented in the Lady and the Unicorn Suite of tapestries, it has been strongly suggested that they may be representative of maleness and sexuality. By using "My Little Pony" style of unicorns, often a girl’s toy, that too adds an extra layer of ambiguity and meaningfulness.
The large tapestry of women's portraits is an amalgamation of personal drawings collaged together to create a composition combing elements of the single portraits, but focusing on femaleness. The little birds featured in the corner of the work are little messengers, or gossips.
While viewing the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries last year (2018), I was struck by many things, but a stand out observation was the crisp and fresh quality of the colours and rendering of objects. I believe the simple colour mixing (if any) and complex shape making go towards the effective and compelling qualities of this extraordinary suite of tapestries. These tapestries have been the corner stone of my experience of tapestry weaving since 1994, and it is no surprise to me what an impact viewing them in real life has had on my practice.
The Fabric Of Life, Be Brave Art Space
31st May - 23rd June
Kate Derum Award + Irene Davies Emerging Artist Award for Small Tapestries 2019
Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne.
16th July - 13 September
My teacher’s influence is a familiar companion while I work
There are many conversations I have in my mind while I weave, a lot of them I try to answer myself, others I can only imagine what Kate might have said.
The work I do now is a long way away from the days of Kate's influence, but in this piece, it is a memory of Kate Derum that accompanies the female figure.
Craft Victoria’s Craft Cubed 2019
@ Boom Gallery
Documentation to come.