Monday, 4 June 2007

Why does fabric art need to be explained

I frequently visit a gallery that specialises in textile art, the works are always accompanied by an explanation from the artist.
More that just an artist statement, they are sometimes lengthy descriptions of how, where, why, what.

Is there a need amongst textile 'viewers' to have it all explained, a need that doesn't seem to exist in 'painterly' circles.

Why does a textile 'viewer' need to know not only the thought processes, but how it was put together, did the artist hand quilt or was it stitched on one of those big professional quilting machines, was the fabric dyed, stencilled or painted by the artist or bought from the local fabric store.

Is it because textile art is still seen as "women's work", we like to compare stitches, wonder if their work is as fine as granma's, wonder "if I dyed my fabric like that...then I could get results like that.."

Why don't you get the same information at an art show, we are seldom told about the inspirations let alone the technical details like the brand of oil paints or the brush sizes, did he use linseed oil, did the artist stretch his own canvas...

- these artists are a secretive bunch, if only they would tell all the way the textile artists do, then we could go home and paint like Rembrandt!


arlee said...

It often seems with textile art that the more techniques you can list used, the more "important" or "innovative" the piece is. Having been guilty of this myself, i am stopping it! If you can't see what was done without a label, and need to know, ask. If you appreciate it without all the nomenclature, then you "get" what i am doing!

Anonymous said...

i am not sure how i feel here, i like to make the process part of a work, and dialog is important to me...but again i don't consider myself an artist. what is art is not a question i have answered for myself yet. if it is something that is supposed to be magic, i guess the secret is safer to keep.

Erica said...

it's a hard thing to decide, I want to be able to stand back and admire the colour, texture, form and subject as I would a painting, but deep down as a textile person I do want to know "how"
Jude I certainly consider you an artist, but I know what you mean, I find it hard to call myself an artist, I feel I'm being a tad pretentious

Anonymous said...

I would love to see descriptions on inspirations and thought processes on every art piece, just like when listening to a song (what makes someone write certain lyrics?) But I'm not so sure about the description of how things are done, though fiber art is forever fascinating with a huge respositary of techniques.

Grangry said...

Because I was City & Guilds trained, and so had to pass the Design Certificate, I am used to showing the development of an idea through to the execution of the finished piece. I love to see the sketchbook pages, samples, working designs etc. of a piece of work. What I do not like to see is the sometimes pretentious 'artist's statement' that has clearly been written after the event to fit the finished piece, just for show.

Sometimes, though, the 'magic' of a beautiful piece is studying it, wondering what the inspiration was and looking hard to see how it was accomplished.

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