Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Little Night Music

I've mentioned several times recently that I wanted to do more abstract work with art quilts, and this is a new piece that I would put in that category. It's called Night Music, and it's 14x11 inches. And being a real fan of challenges, I've added monthly Abstract Art Quilts to my list for this year.

A word about challenges -- it's often said in the marketing domain that people respond to deals and deadlines. Creating quilting challenges for myself focuses my work and moves me along in the directions I want to explore. If you're overwhelmed with options, uncertain about direction or what you want to say, or you want to try new things, I highly recommend creating art challenges for yourself.

Actually, most of my work is abstract. Here's Wikipedia's definition of Abstract Art: Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. I would agree that most of my quilts have little, if any reference, to the actual world.

But for me the word abstract can also encompass
  • a variety of techniques or methods of representing thoughts or feelings
  • different or unusual methods of construction
  • novel ways of using media to express ideas on fabric
  • and more.
In terms of my own work (already created or forthcoming), I see it as being abstract if it
  • is a collage of fabrics and other elements not related to a preexisting image or photo or view of "reality"
  • goes outside the lines, works off the edge, in some way doesn't live within typical boundaries
  • messes with the original context of the individual elements, especially in the domain of digital images
  • focuses on a single design element or shape, line or color and pushes the envelope in some way
  • varies from standard expectations, my own or others'
  • makes me work for it, challenges me to bring forth and say, with fabric, whatever inside me needs to be said at that moment
I'm sure there's even more to this abstract thing. I've just begun trying to articulate the concept in "concrete" terms, getting it down on paper, so to speak.

I'd love to hear what you all have to say about it, and how you see abstraction in your own art.


Taueret said...

it's beautiful Connie.

Jan said...

I am in awe of your adherence to your challenges...I have considered the idea, as it's very appealing to me, but have not done it at all.

Since I use commercial fabric, the design is often sparked by it. For the coat I'm making, I needed to do something not too complicated or time-consuming because of my deadline. One of the fabrics is a vintage kimono remnant with diamonds, so I took that theme and broadened it to angles/diagonals and pieced each section of the coat--there are 11 sections--with that design plan. On the sleeve backs, I had almost squares of the kimono fabric, so I used one each, bordered by rectangles dissected by diagonal lines.

I guess it's abstract, though I've never really thought of it that way. When I did my Persian coat, I knew I wanted lots of florals, but simple piecing. I had an idea, not really articulated, and it came together into what I wanted, though I had a hard time actually describing it. In this case, I gathered floral fabrics, then manipulated the colors and patterns within the piecing design. So, is it abstract? Maybe, but not at all the kind of abstract work you do.

I like thinking about how a piece comes to be. When I'm in the process, I audition fabrics and designs until I get what I want: until I'm happy and it 'sings.' After I'm done, then I can think back and articulate a bit about how I made my choices.

I know this is murky when you can't see the pieces; I will be fixing that shortly!

Thanks for writing about this; it's most intriguing.

The Green Stone Woman said...

For me abstraction means representing something real in the most basic and sparse colors and shapes, although now that I think of it, the shapes could be their most basic, while the colors could go anywhere. Maybe I mean abstract is the most minimal in form to the original, while in color it can be the furthest removed. I'm thinking of Karel Appel especially in this case.

Debbie Babin said...

Yes, there IS a lot more to the "abstract thing". Abstraction is when the ELEMENTS (of ART) are the focus. How they are used reveals the ability of the artist, their awareness. Their personal statement through the language of ART.
Abstraction is NOT just playing around with pieces of fabric or other mediums; rather the source lies deep within the artists vision.

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Stunning piece. I like it a lot. It resonates with me. Also thanks for the consideration of what 'abstract' means to you. It is all new and strange to me but Id have to go with the last part of ..."challenges me to bring forth and say, with fabric, whatever inside me needs to be said at the moment".