Throughout the year, I have constantly focused on pattern, however my work before and after Christmas was quite different. Having been inspired by a more abstract experimental way of working during my second Field group ‘Athletes of the Heart’, I chose to abandon pictorial pattern, for non-representational pattern and repetition.
My final outcome consists of roughly 23 meters of white muslin, ripped into strips and knotted together to form a net-like grid. This grid harks back to the aesthetic qualities of 1960’s minimalism, focusing on process, materials, form, viewer interpretation and integration with the space. I hope that this work might be regarded as fitting comfortably alongside the minimalist works by which it was inspired.
I would describe the development and refinement of ideas towards my final outcome in the form of a funnel. Starting with Abstraction, I refined my interests to Minimalism, them more specifically ‘pliable’/non-industrial materials, which led me to four key artists which have directly influenced and inspired my final outcome: Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman, Robert Morris and Eva Hesse.
Furthermore, my final outcome has been inspired by the grid, a prominent form in New York Minimalism.
‘…Agnes Martin was bringing back the grid with a vengeance […] the grid was one of the principal formats of Minimalist painting and sculpture alike, utilized in very different ways by, among numerous others, Robert Ryman, Eva Hesse, Carl Andre, and Sol LeWitt. […] Martin and others were attracted to the grid for its rigid, all-over regularizing…’ (p.92)
Strickland, E. (1993). Minimalism:Origins. American University Press.
The grid is a form of repetitive pattern, a network of lines crossing each other to create a uniform mesh. As you can see in the above quote, three of my four artists have been described as utilizing the grid – only Robert Ryman is not mentioned, but he has in fact incorporated them into his works. By employing a grid, in the context of these four artists, I hope to further hark back to works which were created in New York at that time. This creates a dialogue between these artists within my final outcome.
Agnes Martin’s work displays delicacy, lightness, and precision. I have endeavoured to emulate these qualities. Her grids have been described as, ‘half-way between a rectangular system of coordinates and a veil…’ I have imagined my grid as a kind of three dimensional, textile version of one of Martin’s works, bringing order to a pliable material. My choice of muslin as the medium of my piece was due to its delicacy. Muslin is finely open-woven, making it almost sheer. The beauty in this fabric is its lightness and fluidity, collapsing under its own weight in soft folds and creases.
Robert Ryman’s choice and use of colour, alongside his fixation to explore the qualities of his materials, has also informed my final fabric choice. White allows for more discernable tones and shadows on its surface, but will also make the muslin appear at one with its gallery surrounding, casting shadows on the wall behind.
Robert Morris inspired my use of textiles, and the way I have hung my final outcome, allowing the fabric to drape, emphasizing the natural weight of the knotted muslin to form a soft gentle curve. The scale of Morris’s felt works is significant to how it is perceived. Scale and orientation, brings authority to the otherwise mundane.
Eva Hesse, has influenced the display of my outcome, considering the integration of my work with the space. In addition, I wanted to play with the relationship between precision and imperfection. Inspired by Hesse I have not overworked the muslin, retaining its raw ripped edges and loose threads.
A common feature of all four artists is repetition; the repeating of shapes, processes and materials. I wanted the construction of my final outcome to involve a repetitive process, a process which would be discernable by the viewer. I chose to continue my use of knots established in my previous outcome. Knots are a form of fastening, a method of joining the fabric without any additional, external materials. The knots form the corners of each square, their rounded shape and natural contortion of the material create pleasing shapes and folds throughout the piece.