Even in relaying this information to you, my fine readers, I feel that emotional surge tugging in my chest and a vice grip in my head..."I am a painting, Sonji. Proceed in a traditional fashion. You won't regret it. Go back from whence your little artistic brain came." But, I know in the end, I would be less than satisfied if I just kept painting away. The dimension and manipulation of the fabric is how I can make my images come to life. The physicality matters. I might need to get that talking thing in my head taken care of though. Hmmm."BROKEN LANDSCAPE", "BLUE LANDSCAPE" and "CORSETED LANDSCAPE" are all part of that visual comment I am making on the destruction and control human beings force upon nature. A corset binds a figure in order to enforce a particular set of beauty/sexual/social standards. It is physically harmful, if not emotionally and psychologically harmful as well. But one can recover from these assaults, just like the environment does when chemicals, burning and cutting attack it, desiring control and conformation to "make it better". The beauty of nature, is that nothing can really make it conform. It will react and always overwhelm the human hand that slaps it. The imposition of our desires is virtually meaningless, in the long run. I'm so deep (and slightly depressing...how did that happen?)...good thing these are making their physical debut at a museum. Just the thought put into them alone is worth wine and cheese and wall space.
And trust me, it was a sincere and vicious struggle to get all this under the machine arm. The brunt of the fabric is very plastic to the touch because I used artist acrylics instead of the watery craft acrylics. I'm not complaining (well, technically I am complaining), because as with all these works the painted surface is uber important and that tough hand is necessary. Hey, don't you think that some intrepid choreographer would become quite the success if they simply watched those of us who create large fabric works push and pull ourselves and our work? I always laugh audibly if I have to start using my left leg in order to balance part of a piece or to brace it on a chair and move the chair around with my foot. It is an odd dance. I know many of you do it as well. These detail shots show the incising, strip piecing (pieced prior to painting in 3 sections, which were then sewn together) and layering that create the visual "corset" reference. Both sides are painted. The non-viewed side is a copper/brown/gray surface. I refer to it as "non-viewed" because my original intention was to have it function as a two-sided work, but for whatever reason, it didn't go that way. I think I developed a primary obsession with the gray side. When Trish Williams came to visit, she thought it could still go that direction, but the way that I continued to construct it leads me to prefer the wall relief version and instead devote my energy to creating an obsessively coiled hand embroidered surface. The thought of it finished delights me. The thought of doing it ...not so much.
"CORSETED LANDSCAPE" measures about 54"W x 73"H and has a depth of around 6 to 8 inches off the wall, depending on how the wind is blowing. Just imagine a wave of coiled black embroidery across the lower third of the corset. Beautiful. Now, imagine doing it. Uh...still beautiful? Now, I actually went over and tried to jab that frickin' needle through that canvas (awl and pliers in hand) and I have to admit that I'm not exactly married to the idea of the embroidery. Maybe on the next one. Hmmm. Commitment issues.