Haegue Yang – ‘Floating Knowledge and Growing Craft’ 2013

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Haegue Yang’s ‘Floating Knowledge and Growing Craft – Silent Architecture Under Construction’ was a piece in Yang’s debut installation titled ‘Journal of Bouba/kiki’ in 2013 at the Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow, Scotland. I’ve looked at this piece in particular due to the structural architecture behind this piece with thoughts of my upcoming degree show. Yang’s interests and influences of her artwork come from the economy of labour, handicraft alongside fabrication and movement, all to which are evident looking at this piece. These sculptures contain intense detail which requires an intense standard of labour. The innocence of use of the colour white makes them appear very elegant and natural. They look as though they could be positioned in amongst nature – in the woods, surrounded by trees and the earth and it would look very belonging. There are many different patterns and stitches/techniques within these sculptures which is what makes it so interesting to look at, with alternative detail for the viewer to discover at every glance.

Xenobia Bailey

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Xenobia Bailey is an American artist who uses crochet and stitching techniques with beading to create brightly coloured geometric tapestry crochet inspired by African and Native American culture. She took this interest further by studying ethnomusicology and millinery and tailoring courses at college. She also creates traditional African headpieces which has gained the interest of costume designers for use in film and advertising. Bailey’s signature stitch known as the ‘liquid stitch’ creates a visual effect of dripping, seen in many of her pieces. Xenobia Bailey is a huge inspiration for my artwork as I enjoy using bright colours in my practise alongside textile mediums. Her wall pieces I am immediately drawn to as they appear like digital drawings due to the precision of skill and attention to detail in her work.

Françoise Grossen – ‘Contact’ 1971

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Grossen’s fibre sculpture titled ‘Contact’ was installed in public space on Staple Street, New York City, suspended between apartments. The repetitive shapes of the sculpture are received as figurative, as they almost appear as a line of people stood in the middle of the street as a barrier. I feel that this could be considered an early piece of ‘gentle protest’ or what we now know as Craftivism. The figurative shape of the sculptures suggest a sense of unity and protest, and each shape is joined to the next in a similar position to where human arms and hands would be. This piece can certainly be considered as influential to public art and ‘gentle protest’ as textile art was continually dismissed by galleries and the western art sphere. He has since made replicas of Contact which have been implemented in galleries, Contact III made in 1977 was shown at the Blum & Poe gallery based in Los Angeles in 2016.

Lenore Tawney

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Lenore Tawney was a significant figure in the development of fibre art from the 1960’s. She created tapestries suspended from ceilings in the most interesting shapes and patterns. In 1964 she had works on view in a show named Gewebte Formen at Kunstgewerbemuseum in Zurich. Her pieces are very elegantly crafted as the patterns are designed symmetrically with fine attention to detail on every strand of fabric. She also introduced the technique of layering within fibre art, where shading and shapes would be created through the layers of stands of fabric and create a very surreal look of the suspended tapestries. Her pieces may even be considered illusion-like due to this technique, it is very possible that the viewer’s perception is initially deceived by this.

Ernesto Neto

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Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto has created many installations using textile based materials to create playground like environments for adults. His work is very sensory based, as the viewer is not only able to see the artwork, but they gain the ability to feel, smell and listen to Neto’s installations as a multi-sensory experience. The design of Neto’s installations are almost dream like, some kind of paradise dreamland where you immediately feel comfortable and your senses are challenged. The repetitive shapes immerses you in to a soft texture maze and connects the viewer in many ways to the piece. The choice of materials instantly makes the viewer feel safe and comforted, it is very open with no sort of aggression in definitive edges and bland colour. Neto’s installation connects the viewer with their ‘inner child’ and brings enjoyment and nostalgia to anyone who is able to experience it.

Barbara Shawcroft – ‘Meditation Space’ 1974

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Barbara Shawcroft’s crochet installation titled ‘Meditation Space’ uses textiles to create a calming and comfortable space. Gaps either side allows the viewer to climb through a passage, similar to what reminds me of a children’s playground. But Shawcroft has used soft materials to crate this piece, something which is very warming and comforting for the viewer. Once you are immersed by the soft textures around you, it is very relaxing and an interesting space to collect your thoughts, hence the particularly sensible name ‘Meditation Space’.