CONCEPT: TEXTILES & TAPESTRIES
Textiles are a focal point in my travels: I seek out ethnography museums, scour markets, study region-specific symbolism, make note of the most oft-repeated patterns. Visually, I love textiles for their tactile quality; conceptually, I love them for their perfect balance between beauty and function; intellectually, and perhaps most relevant to my paintings, I love them because, across nearly all cultures, ancient textiles acted as a way of writing, in that each pattern or symbol had a corresponding meaning. In this way, a textile becomes like a book, capable of telling a story, serving as a talisman with a specific meaning and purpose for your home.
After visually collecting and taking note of textiles in my travels-- notably in Turkey, Serbia, and Ukraine-- I started using them as a motif in my own work. I love how they create a frame-within-a-frame, how the edges create a second window (after the paper itself) into which the viewer can gaze. I found the tapestry conceit helpful in exploring new ways to enjoy oft-used Louisiana symbols : the repetition, the bilateral mirror effect, the symmetry, all pushed me to re-examine the objects, to think of them as geometric shapes and forms above anything else.
Magnolia trees are fascinating, bizarre, and ancient. I was reading about the life cycle of the magnolia, from pod to flower to fruit, when I came across a line of text I couldn't shake: magnolia fruit, the text said, produces seeds that hang from delicate silky threads until birds or other animals come and take them, thus spreading the seed.
These words-- the delicate silken threads, the dangling seeds-- absolutely captivated me. Though in reality the threads are quite short, the words allowed me to imagine a universe in which magnolia fruit produces long silken fibers, elegant and ethereal; in this universe, ,perhaps when a bird plucks the seed from the fruit, the silken thread trails after for miles and miles. I began thinking of the "silky threads" being used to weave tapestries, and thus a series was born. "Magnolia Fruit: Seed-Weavings 1" was the first painting to imagine this scenario, and asks the viewer to enter the surreal world of silken-magnolia-threads as well.