A Contemplative Measure of the Gains
and Losses of our Global Times
Well-traveled artist explores socio-political
“Weave” is a collection of paintings
reflecting the social, political and emotional manifestations
of the ancient art of weaving.
These figurative paintings are the result of travels
through China, Myanmar and South Carolina. Capturing
weavers in their daily rituals, the paintings blend
woman with machine in a celebration of the ancient art
and a contemplative measure of the gains and losses
of our global times.
The loud clang of industrial mass production is frequent
in China these days. Well-known for its sweat shop style
of labor, it’s an ominous forecast for the future.
Two years ago I was there and photographed a silk mill
outside of Shanghai. Under fluorescent lights, the colors
of steel and cement are cold, edges sharp. The women
working the mill have their backs turned or their faces
obscured. The fast and chaotic movement of the mass
production is echoed through high energy brushstrokes.
In contrast, ancient forms of hand weaving are still
practiced in places like Burma (Myanmar), where I recently
spent time with a family of weavers. The experience
left me with contradictions that I explored through
Their shop was the first floor of their home, stilted
over Inle lake. The organic qualities of their massive
hand hewn looms fill the room with the soft atmosphere
of wood and cotton. They live under one of the most
oppressive regimes today, which has resulted in a boycott
of Myanmar by most countries. I wanted to reflect this
existence of being completely cut off from the modern
world by embedding the figures deep within the architecture
of their looms. They are as visually separate from us,
as they are culturally.
Closer to home, I explored the cotton mill in Anderson,
South Carolina where my great grandmother was a spinner
for most of her life. She took me there before she died,
and I recorded the burnt out and collapsed structures
as a perfect reflection of how manufacturing has continued
to leave our borders over the years. The elegant brick
structures have been abandoned for cheap labor and lower
environmental standards found elsewhere in the world.
Offering an intimate portrayal of life in a “mill
village”, I appropriated excerpts from my grandmother’s
letters into burnt drawings of the mill. They reflect
the difficulties of life during the industrial era and
remind us that we are not so different from people elsewhere.
4 paintings; oil on linen, 32” x 48”
Series of drawings; ink on layered trace with Chinese
newspaper, 7” x 11”
4 paintings; oil on canvas, 38” x 48”
4 paintings, oil on burlap, 38” x 26”
Series of drawings; xerography, pencil, conte &
tar paper on burnt collage, 11” x 11”