Sonia Delaunay’s exhibition, in 2015, at the Tate Modern was the first large scale one-‘man’ (or rather woman) show I remember going to. I make the gender distinction because it seems more important now that I begin to consider the context and debates surrounding the subject of Textiles. (Feedback from ATV Summative Assessment – March 2017). At the time, when my studies were in their infancy, it didn’t matter to me whether Delaunay was a man, woman or an elephant with a paintbrush. What spoke to me was the enormous scope and quantity of work- all of which I liked. From the moment I walked into the gallery and saw Nu Jaune, I knew I had fallen in love with her use of colour. I would say that I still feel the impact of this exhibition, months later.
As I began the joining exercises I found myself thinking about Sonia Delaunay’s continued use of circles throughout her career. Although In the 1910’s she was still working figuratively, her paintings which chronicle the popularity of the Tango and the introduction of electric light, contain strong circular elements which radiate from a central axis. I love the way she breaks up the circle motif with colours that swirl around the canvas making me feel almost dizzy. I feel by the 1960’s her paintings had lost some of their energy and hedonism, yet they still explore a sense of repetition, rhythm and motion.
I looked once more at my concentric circles and wondered how I could relate them to the joining of materials to form angles and corners..
It was quite by chance that I found my way forward. Inspired by joining bark to fabric (as described in my last post) I moved onto lashing sticks together with string:
I realised I could join the circles in the same way as I joined the sticks, at perpendicular angles, and so Full Circle was born:
Part of me worries that this far too simple to qualify as ‘Art’ but as it hangs above my desk it twirls constantly. Its perpetual motion, reminds me of Delaunay’s dancing shapes. This version has been made in a restful green that quite suits the serenity of the hypnotic movement, (like dancers slowly swaying and rotating?) I think the mood of the piece would be very much dependant upon the colour, if I were to choose a bolder scheme I could look for Simultaneous combinations that would change the tempo.
In Part 1, I had an idea to translate the gradations of shade in a pleated sample into a two-dimensional drawing, suggesting that shadows could be permanently adhered to their facets as a shape unfolded. I know this was an idea my tutor identified as interesting so I thought about developing it further. I became somewhat side tracked however by the consideration of Delaunay’s presence upon the canvas.
This is easiest to explain if I compare Delaunay’s work to Agnes Martin’s. I feel you need to be somewhat of a connoisseur of Martin to appreciate the slight tremors of her lines and the very subtle textures of the canvas. Where Martin is restrained Delaunay is wild. She scribbles like a child with felt pens, she leaves mad brush strokes and bold pastel marks which add a sense of urgency and passion. As I explained previously my watercolour of the sheer sample had been rather flat and lifeless, I wanted to avoid this happening again.
Thinking about what I learned from the above experiments I attempted to draw ‘Full Circle’:
The drawing has some energy but the application of colour was a bit rushed. In an attempt at being spontaneous I failed to really consider the relationships and placement of a broad range of hues.
I wondered if I could add texture directly to the sample itself, rather that at the drawing stage. Colour was reduced to this analogous selection of browns. Texture was created by wrapping hoops of card in yarn. I love this sample, however, the construction has left it rather static because of the additional weight and the join made from DK yarn rather than cotton thread.
If this version of the sample were a dance I have no idea what it would be! Something slow and muddy? For some reason it makes me think of wellington boots. Maybe a festival? Maybe it is part of a song about the cyclical nature of the seasons?
I have impression that part of my soul has already left Project One and has started Project Two: Wrapping. Just when I reached the end I realised I have one more post…