Bound & Finely Woven

This body of work is contemplating the binds we have with the past and the duplicitous nature of this relationship.

Whereby it considers how our thoughts, actions and motives are so thoroughly impregnated by a rhetoric of memories, past experiences and genetics, that none of our actions can be deemed as unprejudiced or free from the past. Essentially, we are constantly bound to our former selves and forebears, and all of the thoughts, experiences and genetic ties that are woven within us. 

 

We have a tendency to idealise the past and our relationship to it, yet this work is looking at this in more of a binary way, that it has light and dark, positive and negatives, and how we have little choice or power to influence it. 

 

These ideas have been expressed largely through cloth, threads, weaves and braids. The work is particularly informed by the tradition of Japanese Boro textiles and life cloths. These woven fabrics are born of the idea that nothing goes to waste. Scraps of cloth are stitched together, constantly worn, patched and repaired over generations. The cloth is passed from one family member to the next, with each individual adding the items wear and subsequent repair.  These fragments of rich indigo and traditional Japanese prints are transformed from rags to precious heirlooms, visually beautiful, altered and heavy with history.

 

Hair also plays an important role in this work, also reflecting this theme as it is woven and entwined as the figures braid, twist and weave their locks of hair. These private moments, captured somewhat voyeuristically, are also mimicking traditional Japanese woodblock prints, and the Impressionists such as Degas, to which the work is giving a gentle nod. 

 

Finally, the gilded threads act as veins that run through the paintings, weaving around and through the figures. They can be interpreted as strings of DNA or genetic codes. As they catch the light they ebb and flow, some even evoke thoughts of topographic lines on maps, perhaps mapping the past or the future. They also mimic braided strands of hair or the woven cloth from which the work was inspired. They are gilded cages.

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