Last night's talk was by Kendall Buster who makes giant installations for large atrium spaces. She was talking about living in the "crazy creative field" that is art, where design is an object, a peep into the world of hypothesis and dreams. Like many of us, her first medium and first love was fabric. When she first started to work with metal, she folded, bent, overlapped and "stitched" the panels together with screws! She felt that looking back it was possible to recognize your style early on in your practice - a thought which opens up possibilities for cogitation in a further blog!
The first work she showed (right after grad school) was rather solid looking building shapes that you could walk into but soon she replaced the metal panels with fabric:
|Garden Snare, 1998, Kreeger Museum, Washington, DC, shadecloth. steel|
It wasn't long before she turned to using all white fabric and "floated" the structures off the floor - initially at only about 4 or 5 fit and the viewers had to crawl around under them to see them!! It would be fun to suspend quilts like this - horizontally with the light behind. You would lie on the floor and see the quilt floating above you - a great reference to the original idea of quilts as horizontal covers above you. (hmm...I wonder if I could propose this to the next venue that wants to show my work!!)
However, boring things like insurance regulations, soon had the white structures elevated into atriums - suspended by steel cables, sometimes from existing beams, as determined by the architects.
Ms Buster didn't mention fungi as an inspiration but her strata series really made me think of the horizontal tree fungi I've seen:
|Topograph, 2010, San Francisco International Airport. .|
|New Growth/Stratum Model, 2009, Suyama Space, Seattle, WA.|
She prefers to work in white, describing herself as chromophobic!! But with such textures created by the layers of fabric and light, there is no need for color - the artistic vision is fully realized without it.
Much to inspire, and much to be in awe of - not the least being the incredibly complicated details of designing, fabricating and mounting such structures. Fascinating the fact that she has dealt with some of the same design inspirations as I have been interested in: inside vs outside (are we looking in, or are we looking out) and as I've seen students in my workshops tackle: Elaine - remember your fungi??
So - if you have a chance - do check out the lectures at your local art school - and, if you have been, thanks for reading! All comments will be thoroughly read and enjoyed!! Please do not restrain yourselves!!
PS - I'm looking forward to my workshop on Cape Cod in October (see side bar for details and contact info) - we're going to do a little dyeing, and then explore abstract art. Lots of designing, lots of one on one - you can make one quilt and finish it, get two pinned together, or work on designs!