Artist Statements, 1992
My work addresses the issues and ramifications resulting from British Colonial rule. These include the subjugation of a people; condescending attitudes towards their beliefs and customs, and; the appropriation and commercialization of “exotica” for Western consumption. My interest stems from my heritage and that of my husband. As a Canadian of British descent, I have mixed feelings about my right to call this country home. In my husband's native Burma (now Myanmar), civil war between the nation's minority peoples and ethnic Burmese has continued unabated since the end of the Second World War, when the British forsook their former colony, leaving no safeguards for their tribal allies.
In my pieces, I use the seductive lure of patterned fabric and beading that contrasts sharply with the photographic images of colonials and their subjects. An uneasy tension is created between the juxtaposition of an idealized world, which the embellished surface implies, and the realism of the photo images. The relationship reflects the differing points of view of ruler and subject. As well, the use of labour-intensive stitchery is of central importance to me. As a feminist I feel that by using these methods I am drawing upon a history of traditional women's expression and reinforce its value.
The preoccupation with the juxtaposition of internal landscapes of CAT and MRI scans of the human brain, and external landscapes (specifically maps and topographic satellite images of earth) continues.
We are living in a world where the borders of our external world are continually being threatened, dissolved and redefined. East Germany, West Germany and the USSR are no longer, and in light of free trade, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico may very possibly be following suit. The mappings of these cited physical changes, and the thought processes and feelings that accompany them are simultaneously being mirrored in the brain.
In this body of work, I am fusing MRI images of where these changes take place in the brain with information recorded in outdated atlases and maps from the turn of the century. The juxtaposition of the digital display of the brain with the time-worn feelings and history of the maps results in disturbing concomitant questions and revelations about our fragility and temporality as cognizant human beings; hence the name of the current Remote Sensing series - Cortex versus Context./p>
Mary Ann Jordon
I collage fabric that I have printed, dyed or woven myself in combination with commercially manufactured or printed material. Through the use of collage, I juxtapose and superimpose seemingly unrelated patterns. I am interested in the marriage of contrasting imagery and the irony that results in the offspring of such unlikely combinations. It is through the process of connecting and contrasting different pieces of fabric (with all the messages and implications that each piece of fabric is capable of carrying) that I explore the possibilities of visual tension and the expressive potential of the work.
I am constantly inspired by the use of pattern in history and its migration and transmutation into modern time. I use the history of textiles as a resource along with the study of different cultures and their “art” traditions such as Haitian voodoo banners, Japanese screen painting and American folk art. My work is a series of responses to my study of patterns, of history, and of my own experiences in everyday life - a kind of visual diary. I do not merely look at historical works and redo them in a contemporary fashion; rather, I try to allow my knowledge of history to inform my own contemporary concerns. Therefore, although my work is quite different from its inspirational sources, through it I try to convey some of the same energy and excitement that I have drawn from these sources.
For me the process of making art is one that is totally self-contained and completely intimate. Emotionally, my work represents my development as a person. As I grow and change, the grids become less rigid and the edges begin to soften. Visually, the images derive from such things as the landscape, aerial views, quilts and flags.
My intentions are to create absorbing and sensual surfaces based on the use of spatial relationships, texture and transparencies. I think these surfaces can be explored and changed depending on the viewer's distance.
My work is the result of my intellectual and physical celebration of pattern, colour, design and process.
Susan Dowman Wilchins
All of my work is an attempt to describe, with fabric, my intense visual experiences of the earth and its natural phenomena. Previous compositions used imagery derived from aerial photographs, cartography and microscopic photographs of animal and plant tissue. For several years I have been at work on a series of pieces based on the “carpet” of debris in the forest, so I use rich colours and complex textures to re-create the dichotomy I see compositions in nature that are bold enough to be visible from a distance, but which invite the viewer to come closer to discover a more intimate surface alive with texture and visual energy. My work celebrates growth and decay, order and chaos, as well as the ordinary and the sublime. I use fabric to write poems for which I have no words.
© 2007 Textile Museum of Canada