Archive for the ‘artist statements’ Category

Some Things Change, Others No So Much

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

While penning a newsletter this week for Ozquilt, an association for art quilt makers in the Australian-New Zealand corner of the world (of which I’ve been a member for ever) I looked back at some of my very earliest blog posts in 2005.

Today, the internet is littered with abandoned blogs, and yet some who began blogging then continue to write them even as their original angle or purpose might have shifted a bit, as mine has. My regular readers know that my blog has become more of an artist’s diary in content and less of a travelogue than when I began writing it. Of course, that could have something to do with travelling less, too ­čśë In the last decade social media have multiplied and spread, so that today even Facebook and Instagram are showing signs of being past their peaks, and certainly blogs have lost some of the importance they had 15 years ago. Perhaps both writers and readers can’t be bothered to look past pictures and captions for a longer read.

While I still write and post on my blog, my overall online presence has changed a bit, too. I have been on Facebook for years, but only recently set up an artist page there in addition to my more general one. Last year I started posting on Instagram which is all about pictures and less about information in written form. It may be true, as younger people now say, that FB is more for older people. I haven’t yet taken to the colour-and-movement on Tik Tok, and if I ever do go there, the influencers will have probably all moved on… whatever. The thing with social media is that you can spend hours just looking, making videos and so on, but the posts are not necessarily coherent and sequential, and often not in the least bit informative. Being a natural teacher and lover of sharing information and opinions as I do, a blog format is perfect for me. Reading back over some of my earlier posts revealed that I could have written some of them just yesterday. I prefer to think that demonstrates consistent opinion-forming, not that I’m an old stuck-in-the-mud!

I recently had a conversation with a friend here about some of the most iconic Uruguayan artists, and of course the beloved Jose Gurvich came up. He was gifted in many media, including painting, ceramics, drawing and printmaking, and we’ve just made plans for next weekend to vist the Museo Gurvich, in the Old City, dedicated to his life’s work. On Friday May 13th 2005 I posted about this quilt, made shortly after seeing an important exhibition of Gurvich’s ceramics.

“Arbol de la Vida” 2005, ~130 x 100cm. Strongly influenced by a wonderful exhibition I had recently seen of the ceramic works of Jose Gurvich.

My work is almost never pictorial, and I haven’t made anything in that style since… but I made it for an invitation to exhibit in a display with a particular theme, which is something I almost never do now. Today, I follow my own themes or my vision, make the work and then select calls for entries that I think suit whatever I’m making or have already made.

Reading on through that 2005 post, in which I positively enthused about working late, or even frantically working through the night to meet some deadline or other showed that has really changed! I now have a fairly well developed sense of what I can achieve in a given time, and as I begin something, I self-impose a deadline to allow days or even weeks before any deadline. It might be aging, or perhaps a delayed onset of wisdom, but despite the many last minute triumphs including some notably glorious ones, I now hate the pressure of doing things in a rush at the last minute. I’ve always preferred working to larger sizes like 100cm+ that to many younger artquilt makers would seem impossibly large, but I love a large project and the challenges that presents, and to produce one takes time, without rushing against the clock.

A Bit Of A Sleeper, Really …

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Although I only had this work photographed a couple of months ago, I actually made it in 2015. A bit experimental in materials and processes, I designed and made it for a particular wall in our home, hung it immediately it was finished and always forgot to take it to be photographed every time after that I took other new work to be done. I tend to have several pieces photographed at once, a couple of times a year, but this one just somehow got overlooked every time. Fast forward to 2022, and in January I was inspired to make a new work for that space, and put that one straight up, too, without naming or even measuring and documenting it, and I still haven’t had it properly photographed, either! However, in a few weeks’ time I’ll be taking some new work in to Eduardo’s studio, and will try to remember it in then.

However, back to this one –

“Slideshow” 110cm x 120cm 2015

Even when I posted my fresh new new photo on Instagram I hadn’t yet bothered to name it, and friend Kathy Loomis of OH suggested I should call it Slideshow. I agreed, and went on to comment ” @kathy_in_ky┬á­čśé you’re right – and I never titled it because I made it for a particular place in our house. So “Slideshow” it is, not that it’s ever going to appear in any catalogue, except for the illustrated record I keep of all my work – with an eye to the major retrospective in about 100 years’ time, of course ­čśŹ ”

When Studio Art Quilt Associates, SAQA, called for entries to a juried collection of SAQA juried artists’ quilts to feature in their exhibition space at the huge annual expo SOFA, (that stands for sculpture objects fine art design) I looked to see what might fit. There was no age limit, so I included Slideshow among the three in my entry, and then quite forgot about it until an acceptance email turned up yesterday. I’m not sure there’ll be a catalogue, but that expo is big, and it’s a wonderful exposure opportunity for my art.

“Slideshow”, detail

Grid layouts are my go-to design structure, definitely an influence from traditional patchwork and quilting. But there’s more to my love of them. I’m a creature of some degree of habit, and calm and order do come from a level of predictability derived through repetition. In today’s turbulent world, I value an orderly home where actual people live, using and enjoying our various belongings, and tidying up and cleaning when absolutely necessary. When I go downstairs in the morning to make the first cup of tea I like that the cat is waiting on the window ledge for its breakfast. I like opening a cupboard knowing I’ll find that thing I want without having to rummage around too much. You probably have regular ‘markers’ in your daily and weekly lives and can relate to those comments. I’ve known a couple of serious hoarders in my life, and in their environments, nothing is filed sensibly, put away properly, repaired or thrown away. Stuff just accumulates in no particular order, and I’ve found such people’s chaotic environments very unsettling.

In addition to the masses of traditional and contemporary quilt makers, many of my favourite artists work in grids and grid-like structures, so they too influence me. Outside of the fibre art world, I particularly love the work of artists like Agnes Martin, Mathias Goeritz, Shane Drinkwater, Giles Bettison and Vera Molnar – you’ll see what I mean if you go to these links to their work.

The Artist Statement

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The title of this work is “Flood 2”

I have always said the perfect artist statement for any work is a well chosen title. It offers some insight into the subject matter of the design, but leaves the viewer free to experience a work with unhindered by moulded expectations.

Further, I have often grumbled about having to produce yet another artist statement. And yet, its not hard. In this computer day and age its easy to have on file various lengths of statement from the ‘ in less that 50 words….” version of something to extensive on-file ramblings from which I pluck something to provide customised longer statements.

I have just come to the end of working with a team of web dsigners for a completely new website which now appears at https://www.alisonschwabe.com Moving the images round into a different order was interesting in that it helped me crystalise my thoughts about the groups of work I have done. That exercise prompted me to devise a general statement of the concept behind each series or group of quilts. For the moment I have not cluttered each quilt’s page with a particular statement about that quilt, as I feel the general one is enough, brief as it is. Following the statement is the list of techniques I used on pieces in the series. That’s for the technically curious, most often quilt makers. It’s about as informative as listing a painter’s works as “abstracts in oil” or “watercolour landscapes” but so often people want to know. IMHO, far too many textile artists go into long winded statements which include in almost mini tutorials on how they made each piece. That temptation is prompted by some exhibition organisers who ask for it on entry forms. I usually resist, or provide only a simple list. But one can be too brief – the photo of a quilt of mine was left out of a catalogue once, with something like ” no statement provided’ printed on the page beneath the name and title, dimensions and year of my quilt. I thought that was particularly snarky, but maybe it was tit for tat. I really could have said something very brief but chose not to. Now I always try to have a sentence at least about a quilt ready, along with title, dimensions, date, and price in the list I keep.

Thinking about what I am doing and why, with required objectivity and ordering of thoughts into comprensible printed or digital format can be hard, but is an ongoing process in which I’ve gradually learned more about myself. It has helped me to jot down notes as I work, and I don’t always do this, and don’t always feel I need to. I also make minimal drawings, and never make patterns or draw up anything in detail before starting a new piece, unless I am doing a commission, but that’s a bit different.

Oh, and the quilt,Flood 2″ comes from my Colour Memories series, and you’ll find it in a gallery by that name on https://www.alisonschwabe.com/ Posted by Picasa

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