It began with a breath, or lack thereof. It was seven years since my father’s last breath, this quiet death that I stared at for what must have been forever. I spent most of the spring semester exploring that breath through video, photographs of bedscapes, and finally- weaving. Weaving became meditative. I focused my breath in as paper weft crossed paper warp. I became aware of my breath out as I felt the image glide through my hands. The act of weaving felt like a creative release: I was focused, motivated to keep my hands moving to watch the image come to life, enthralled by what happens mentally and physically when you slow down your practice. It felt like a universe was blooming inside of me and my hands were struggling to catch up. Through my studio practice into the present, I will be exploring the neurological breakdown of the body through the process of weaving. The warp is the body while the weft the neurological system. I want to explore what that looks like visually. Throughout the year, I am hoping to answer some of the following questions:
- How can I weave together a narrative?
- What is it about the act of weaving that calls to me?
- Can I construct the image itself through the weaving process without having to rely on the photographic image?
- How can I push my weavings to expand in both form and content?
- Does my work have to exist on a wall or can it be brought out into other spaces?
- What is my personal balance between control and letting loose?
- How can I push the breakdown of the body by channeling different diseases or methodologies in my weavings?
- How important is it to me that my audience its seeing something representational of what I’m seeing?
- Can I create a body of work that bridges the perceived difference between fine art and craft?
- Why does there need to be a distinction between fine art and craft in the first place?
- Can a breakdown be a breakthrough?
- Can I make art about the body without the body being noticeably present?
- What can I make in the space that pain (mental and physical) occupies?
- How can I create an intimate space through the hanging/instillation of the warp pieces?
- Can I reference weaving without having to utilize the weft?
- How does light and shadow play a role in the work? What do the different tonal qualities of the lightbulbs (daylight, warm, and cool) create visually?
As I have moved forward this semester, I have narrowed down my research topics and decided to focus on utilizing only paper backed fabric (ranging from silks, rayon, and cotton varieties) to form a series of hanging warps. My use of fabric is intentional: when cutting each piece, frays begin to form along the warp lines functioning as a metaphor for frayed or damaged nerves. By maintaining stiff edging along the top and bottom, I am making reference to my Spring 2018 project that revolved around aspects of the bed as place of life and death. I have been trying to create size variations in the cutting of each warp as well as frankensteining the cutting mistakes in order to reference the surgical aspects of my health journey.
Currently, I am planning on hanging each of the pieces from the ceiling via clear fishing line. I have not decided if I want to attempt weaving the fishing line as it goes up towards the ceiling or if keeping them hanging simple is my best bet. One of my biggest challenges to date has been finding the proper rigging points for the pieces within the MFA spaces. Last year, I helped Anita install her woven pieces which gave me insight into how the gallery space could work as well as allowing me to troubleshoot potential hanging problems. I am hoping to determine whether or not I will have to create my own rig to hang the pieces or if I can get away with what is already present in the gallery. Based on my initial iterations, there are two specific spaces that I would be able to hang in: the side room where Anita and Erica showed last semester and the atrium where Young-Mi was. If I remember correctly, the gallery has beams that can be installed to add additional rigging spaces.
I’ve been playing around with different modes of instillation and while I feel good about the latest iteration for a final crit, I had a dream last night that it was hung in a tall giant mass that cascaded down to the floor from the gallery ceiling. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space to test the idea out (and also don’t have the proper contact points for the current iteration) but it’s something to work on as the piece continues to grow.