Thursday, April 30, 2015

Susan Lordi Marker

Soulskin: Seeding the Prairie  1999  nylon, iron, copper, pigment 76 x 41 x 3 inches Susan Lordi Marker
When Susan Lordi Marker was a little girl, her mother took her to museums.
Damiana's Cloth 1991 rayon, silk, thread, 22 x 25 x 3 inches Susan Lordi Marker
She also traveled to Sicily to visit relatives.  She was given vintage garments and other textiles by the older generations she met there.  She heard their stories and the old proverbs.

Damiana is the name of Susan Lordi Marker's great grandmother.  In the piece above, although text is visible among the layers,  we can't read it.  Lordi Marker's use of text is as symbol of experience and knowledge.  It communicates without naming.
Excavation: Soulskin #11 1997  linen blend, thread, dye, pigment 66 x 34 inches Susan Lordi Marker
She realized later that the tangible objects that she was given were evidence that those people had been alive.   That they were marked by wear made them metaphors for her relatives' life experience.
Excavation: Soulskin #11  1997 detail Susan Lordi Marker
In her early work, she experimented with using the actual clothing. Pale shapes of a woman's dress floats on a ground of asymemetrical spirals on a fabric made sheer with burn out.
a remnant: Helionthus  2010  linen blend, gold leaf, thread, dyed  48 x 84 inches  Susan Lordi Marker
Trained as a scientist in her first degree, she went back to school when her children were little and received an MFA degree with honours from the University of Kansas in 1993.
soulskin: cricket  2007  silk, dye, thread  96 x 84 inches Susan Lordi Marker
She then studied with Joy Boutrup at the Kansas City Art Institute and learned ways to layer, fuse, and otherwise manipulate cloth.  She learned about cloque (lye crimping) and devore (chemical burn-out), two methods that make her textile work unique.
the field is sewn 2010  silk, dye, thread  30 x 48 inches  Susan Lordi Marker
little marks
cloth that is hung away from the wall so that it moves
it breathes
it casts a shadow
soulskin: sun, lake, dragonfly  2000  linen blend, dye, pigment, gold leaf, devore  90 x 54 inches Susan Lordi Marker
Susan Lordi Marker noticed that cloth has an ability to survive.  In fact, it became more evocative through the variety of harsh chemical processes she imposed on it.  Stronger in a way.  More unique. To the artist, this makes cloth a metaphor for life itself.

Her work is about the essence of cloth.

"You must pull from within to access the universal"  Susan Lordi Marker
soulskin: sun, lake, dragonfly detail  Susan Lordi Marker
Currently, Susan Lordi Marker is working on a line of gift ware called Willow Tree.  She makes original figures based on her observations of life models.  She speaks here about how her small sculptures are for the giver (who will purchase the piece to express an emotion) than they are about the object itself.  Lordi Marker believes that there is a personal connection for both giver and receiver. Read more about the artist's work with Willow Tree here.
Susan Lordi Marker in her prairie
The artist continues to restore a piece of land in Missouri, re-seeding it with prairie grasses.
Seeding The Prairie:  Detail  Susan Lordi Marker 
Susan Lordi Marker and her powerful one of a kind cloths have left a mark in the world.
She has been an influence.

The aesthetic of time is in each piece.
The aesthetic of labour.
The work of the work.

These pieces also remind us of the organic rhythm of nature, evoked here with these small dimensional marks.

The images in this post are from the official website for Susan Lordi Marker's fine art textiles and also from the Telos Portfolio on the artist, published in 2003 with an essay by Hildreth York.  Go to the artist's website for more information and detail images.  Thank you and acknowledgements to Ms York for her informative essay.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reiko Sudo and Nuno

A post about the recent exhibition at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Almonte Ontario, Reiko Sudo and Nuno: Textiles from Japan
Curated by Alan C. Elder from the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the exhibition was designed by Reiko Sudo in the wabi sabi - beautiful  Norah Rosamond Hughes Gallery, a re-configured space in what used used to be a working woolen weaving factory .    In the above photo, one of the twenty -two columns is wrapped red polyester fabric, Paper Roll 2002, a chemical lace embroidery designed by Reiko Sudo in 2002.
When Alan C, Elder showed Reiko Sudo images of the gallery, she focused her attention on the columns that line up in the temporary exhibition space and dressed them in her original fabrics.  The white pleated and slashed polyester screen on one of the walls is named Tanabata, and was designed in 2004 by Reiko Sudo and Hiroko Suwa.  (Tanabata is a traditional annual festival.  On the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, girls pray to become good at sewing by decorating bamboo with folded paper charms.
 Scrapyard, 1994 designed by Reiko Sudo and Hiroko Suwa.  Rust dyeing, 100% rayon and iron.
This exhibition was not only serenely beautiful, it was also very informative for those of us interested in surface design.  A dedicated wall of samples served to explain the variety of processes used to create the fabrics was an integral part of the exhibit.   Scrapyard was made by laying damp fabric on a square of rusty iron, shown above.
 Length of time was the variable in how densely the material would be coloured.
The exhibition was in Canada from July 11 - November 22, 2014) and celebrated the 30th anniversary of NUNO, the Tokyo based textile studio, and Reiko Sudo's association with it.
The natural light and the decrepit stone walls of the historic building added to the elegance and mystery of these minimalist yet sensuous fabrics.  Above, Cracked Denim Rounds, 2010 designed by Reiko Sudo and Hiroko Suwa. Burnout and bonding, cotton and polyester.
Denim was originally a French twill called serge de Nimes.
 Flower Almanac , 2006 designed by Reiko Sudo.  Jacquard weave, 100 percent cotton.
A double weave in threads of different hefts and twists.
detail of Skylights, 2012 designed by Reiko Sudo.  Another double weave.  98% cotton, 2% polyurethane.
left: Kamaboko Stripe, 2014  Designed by Reiko Sudo, jacquard weave, 100% cotton, Right: Skylights 2012.
Visitors were invited to touch the samples.
 By handling the cloth and reading the details, we learn.
Congratulations to Michael Rikley-Lancaster, Executive Director and Curator of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, and to all of the many who were involved in bringing such an important international exhibition to Almonte.    A catalog of the exhibition is available from the museum, with essays by Alen C. Elder, Naomi Pollock and Yoko Imai accompanying photographs of each cloth.