Whether it was a seasonal observation, or not, my instant thought was ‘advent calendar’! Flaps don’t hold the same fascination for me as holes. Holes are like windows, flaps are like doors. Flaps are unruly. I find something rather unsettling in a series of partially opened flaps. They make me nervous, as if I am be offered multiple options and am being forced to choose…
Researching Lisa Rodden’s hand cut paper works, helped to dispel my fears, it reassured me that there would be plenty I could take from this exercise.
I enjoyed looking at Rodden’s more abstract compositions, which comprise of multiple flaps arranged in formal compositions. (See ‘Cross Stitch’ and ‘Kaleidoscope’ series). There is a geometric regularity in them that appeals to me in the same way as Agnes Martin’s grid paintings do. I can find a sense of quiet calm amid the protrusions which is aided by simple and serene colour choices.
I found Rodden’s pictorial designs much less attractive, finding them rather contrived.(See Crane, Peacock Feathers, Cockatoo, Tiger, Horse and Dragon). I think the abstract compositions showcase the technique better without the distraction of an image. However, it is important to remember that whilst Maud Vantours’ work is destined for high profile companies, Rodden’s work is more suited to a domestic setting where her choice or imagery probably finds a more suitable audience.
I would imagine Rodden’s work sitting well within a home environment, it is quiet but also interesting. Since she always uses a plain white top layer and sharply cut lines the work is quite accessible and non challenging.
How is this artist relevant to me?
Firstly I learned not to be afraid of the technique- there was more to it than advent calendars! Using a predominantly white palette Rodden explores the relationship between small quantities of colour. Flaps then, hold the potential for me to conceal and reveal colour, pattern and texture.
I found parallels with Lisa Rodden, Anne Kyyro Quinn and Agnes Martin, I noticed all seem to play with the idea of simple complexity. A complicated pattern can be produced without the complication of embellishment. I need to be aware that the arrangement of the flaps can be as important as what they reveal.