Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Notes on woven strokes

I'm working on some pieces for a group show that relates Van Gogh to (and?) weaving. I wanted to make a few notes to myself as I go along, and since the show cannot include all of the thoughts around the process, thought I'd keep the notes here.

Van Gogh spent some time with the weavers in Nuenen around 1884 and wrote a bit then about his observations of the weavers. I've seen some of the drawings and paintings he made of them and wanted to read more of what he wrote about that time and experience. I also wanted to call upon my experience of standing in front of his wonderful paintings and create some work that would take into account my own process of creation - maybe marrying color, texture and explore some sculptural aspects - while incorporating weaving techniques.

One of the sources I started out with was "Van Gogh and Gaughin" a book by Debora Silverman. (Library copy) Pairing Silverman's analysis of Van Gogh's painting and process with Van Gogh's own writing (how wonderful to see Van Gogh's letters as he wrote them - the original script, in translation and with sketches!) on his process and observations was a good way in to thinking about how I'd like to respond to the subject.

So many possible approaches! Van Gogh used the weavers as subjects for drawings and paintings. He also contemplated the weaving process (as he saw it) and related the craft, materiality, design choices, aesthetic, and "philosophy" to his own artistic and spiritual searches.

I find myself remembering Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin from the MFA Boston. All that blue. I think of Van Gogh and indigo together - maybe it's just a cheap excuse to use the indigo that I love. The Postman, indigo, Sheila Hicks' woven letters (how did they get into my brain?!), Van Gogh's letters - the seen letters - (OK, maybe SH pieces got in there because I was thinking about letters?...) not any kind of linear process, that's for sure...

So, here we have our indigo and starting materials for a piece and I begin! To be continued...


Blogger MegWeaves said...

I went looking for his connections with weavers a while ago, only on the Internet. I found his artwork depicting the weavers so depressing. Then I read about the working condition of the weavers then and him having something to do with depicting them in protest on their behalf or some such. I wished I could remember where I found that.

12/05/2012 3:48 PM  
Anonymous linda said...

Makes me want to sit down over tea and have a longer conversation, Meg. Wonder if you'd find the work depressing now and/or viewed as originals...I love that he captured the scenes at such an intense period of change in the world!

12/11/2012 10:59 AM  
Blogger MegWeaves said...

View the originals - that's ALWAYS a big question as I've not even seen a good copy that I can remember. In some ways, reading about his depression and my own experience, I can emphasize with the desperation to get things done and do things well, which makes me... let's see... vicariously desperate, which clouds my opinion of his paintings just by knowing he did them. I think that's what I feel when I think of his work.

12/11/2012 4:32 PM  

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