The Politics of Fibre

Notes from Talk at the Whitechapel Art Gallery by Janis Jefferies and Grant Watson

– artists working outside the traditional expectations of what textiles is
– textiles being looked at as a sculptural material
– liberating the surface from the content of the frame
– break the rigidity of definitions, break the frame of reference
– natural connection from fibre to line to language
– textile and fibre works mutating, being reinvented according to the discourse of the moment
– thread of human connection
– ways of making and nun making the world
– is your craft expanding? Can you play and invent and re-invent? Once tidies up, framed and on the wall the work takes up its position and its discourse is fixed
– do we still have a hierarchy of materials or is there more acknowledgement of the repertoire of possibilities?
– so often a Political context – feminism often labelled when it isn’t
– textiles can be a transitory, mobile medium
– there are still issues of language and meaning, what you call your work can define how it is perceived

Lots and lots of artist references as well to look up
– Sam Gilliam
– Al Loving
– Richard Tuttle
– Richard Smith
– Anne Wilson (invisible labour made visible thought performance)
– Abocanowitz
– Lenore Tawney

And a few shows:
– Deliberate Entanglements (1975)
– Decorum
– Thread Lines
– Open Letter
– Textile art and the social fabric

Key thoughts for me to take forward
– AUTONOMY V UTILITY
– textiles as a transitory material

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