What makes our subconscious distort everyday emotions and objects into strange new worlds during day-dreams and night dreams? What process of subconscious flow creates images in our minds that can portray deep emotions or fanciful sojourns? I do not attempt to explain the functions of the process - I delight in the pleasure of using such mental meanderings by articulating them in stitched collage and weaving.
Within my processes I have borrowed ideas and methodologies of surrealists – most predominately that of 'the omnipotence of dream ... the disinterested play of thought' 1. My work is not entirely true to this ideal, as I constrain myself with boundaries and objectives at the outset of the construction of the work. I always reach a point where I stop thinking about what I am creating and let my subconscious take over. The making of the work is more like a day-dream – a little control in a fanciful world.
In my own dreaming, I experience recurring themes, which, when reduced to intent, can be related to desire, innocence and trickery, and growth. The patterns these themes create are not always identical but rather, are part of the distorted whole. I relate this to my weaving by using separate but similar recurring patterns within the structure of the fabric. The viewer who considers the patterns notices that the repetition occasionally diverges from the expected. Often when the pattern repeats, the shading and colours change. I enjoy this as a metaphor for subconscious musings.
Glowing colours and threads enhance the depth of the image and evoke the lusciousness of the mind's conceptual interior.
Simple elements inspire my intuitive responses when I make the collage work. I have an initial inspiration and then try not to think about the subject further, allowing nonsensical wanderings to articulate themselves in the work from the initial ideas of object, line and colour. This gives collages that rely on the surrealist ideas of unconscious play and are pleasurable in their spontaneity.
The viewers orientation is relaxed, and the viewer chooses what the subject and final meaning are.
The collages are pleasurable in their spontaneity and almost nonsensical wanderings from initial ideas of object, line or colour. I try not to think about subject more than that initial inspiration while making the work. The construction is able to rely more on the surrealist ideas of unconscious play. The viewer's orientation is intended to be a relaxed one; it is entirely the viewer's choice what the subject or final meaning is.
In constructing the series of scarves I wished to play more on the viewer's and wearer's idea of how a scarf should be. Instead of starting from this end point, I considered 'How would the subconscious make a scarf?' The only constraining factor of a scarf is it's usability as something to be worn around the neck. So I decided to experiment with how not to make a scarf – cutting, pulling and distorting the fabric up to but not including the point of destruction – so long as it still functioned. It is up to the wearer how they are worn. The scarves are the functional articulation of the concepts I used to create the artworks.
As James Gleeson succinctly states “I've never accepted the external appearance of things as the whole truth. The world is much more elaborate than the nerves of our eye can tell us... " James Gleeson. So I encourage the viewer to consider the work inside their mind – stare at the pattern for five minutes. What does it evoke in your mind? Something, or nothing, that's ok.
1ANDRÉ BRETON Le Manifeste du Surréalisme, 1924
- cheers, mel