On connecting the dots

It is always so helpful to get a good shove in the right direction. I am grateful to have received one in the form of a Creation Grant from ArtsNB. Though I am always a little shy with projects at this stage (before I can point to an object and say “Look there! That is what I mean!”), I would nonetheless like to share my proposal with you. It will give you an idea of where I am coming from as this project unfolds, beginning in October. I hope you will be as excited as I am to get started!

Black-eyed Susan

Connectome

Standing at any point in a room, we receive light from all around. It converges in our minds and informs us of the world outside. But we are also reflecting light. At a point two feet away, our image is found there with all the others. This fact speaks of connection. We perceive ourselves as contained systems, but in real, physical ways, we are blended with the outside world.

To date, my work has focused largely on pairing technology (us) with nature (outside) to make the connections apparent. I am finding this approach too subtle. This new body of work will show the connective tissue, the ripples of light, between the subjects. To understand the imagery I will be working with, envision the following:

“Thus every body placed in the light spreads out in circles and fills the surrounding space with infinite likenesses of itself and appears all in all in every part.”  – Leonardo da Vinci

I will construct the rippled compositions by digitally blending and repeating photographs. From these designs will grow nine low-relief works, twelve square feet and up, with some taller than a person. They will be exhibited as a labyrinth of freestanding panels whose adjoining imagery brings to mind a single continuous work. Four months of consistent practice will see them finished and provide a jumping off point to complex sculpture in the same vein.

This project will explore a variety of textile-infused techniques. I have been evolving a silk quilt process which makes use of hand-painted and digitally printed cloth. The ripple concept also lends itself to scaled-up tapestry, woven using large tubes of printed photograph. Several of these works will have a person-shaped hole or reflective surface in the center, immersing the viewer in the rippled connectome. Every aspect of this project is built to amplify the sense of connection to the world outside.

Garden Person

On getting my work to ask the hard questions:

The other week at an opening there were a number of you who said “I can feel the conflict between industry and nature in your work.” This, in its way, made me sad, for in making the work I felt a harmonious combining of the two.

But the artist makes only one half of the work. The rest is all you, and I am so privileged to learn your side. It lets me know who you are, the other, and how I can talk to you. To state your thoughts lets my work know you and dialogue back.

Leaf Filled

I noticed – hey – I know now what that person feels about industry/nature. My work asked them that question and I didn’t even know it. I thought I was trying to tell them something. But my work had other plans. It was curious.

Meditation cushion print

A thing that comes up in my reading/listening a lot: the idea of making art based on questions, not answers. Answers and truths are illusory. This is a controversial stance. I’m not placing it as an argument but rather a hypothesis. In my experience, personal truths (are there other kinds?) are transitory.

Seasonal trees block

Out in the people world, I find it difficult sometimes to talk to people about — people things. I’m not very good at it. I mean about families, spouses, heartbreaks, haircuts, injuries. These are relevant and important, but I am private in ways and just not very good at sharing back.

On the other hand, I am crazy to learn what projects/ideas/innovations/science/stories/techniques/places/spaces/perspectives/mind-tricks keep you awake at night. You know what? Sometimes its really hard to get people into those conversations. I learned a secret pass-phrase to get right in there, but some things are just tricky.

decal blocking x 2

So I’ll get my art to do it. Then go places with it. It’ll be my wingman.

Hey guy, my art says. Quick, what do I make you think of? Wear it all over your face.

On tipping the balance:

I learn a lot every day. About how to be here/happy/human. I’d like to share and also to string words out of my head so I can knit them into something like a crash pad. And so maybe you can help me tie up the holes.

watercycle and seasons of trees

Last year at life school we had visiting speakers. A couple of them, the lovely/articulate Yolande Clark and Danielle Hogan, were the first people to tell me how NOT balance work with life, but rather integrate it. This way you aren’t confining parts of your self and questing after elusive (impossible) perfect balance. But I haven’t figured it out yet, how to do it.

I was thinking about a blog and how I like to blog about process but it feels like I repeat a step by step rundown already apparent in photos. The parts I need to rehash for my growth are exactly the parts that come off as negative, for others. I’m thinking of ways I can use the blog constructively, to write about the inside things that are harder to say with only pictures.

Sun paintings_1

 

And maybe let us get to know each other. If you’d like that sort of thing.

I’m going to stop presenting my work as seen from some objective outside observer, and rather show how my mind affects my work, and my ability to do it. How the books that I read and the people I talk to are a catalyst for big internal earthquakes. And maybe you can relate. Please, do let me know how you relate.

watercycle block split

If we remove the person from the work, it sort of cuts out the footing. We don’t relate. Last fall at Canadian Crafts Federation symposium on Heirloom they talked about creating a story that will follow your work through its various relationships. To me that means being sure to attach your story to your work. Not just a piece about nature but a piece about nature which came from my experience of roaming through Fundy park and losing all my worries, all my monologue. And trying to find some way of re-organizing my mind to feel at home in the city, to recognize that even our cities are nature, we made them. They are our hive.

Me in Moncton (2)

I would guess to live a life of work/play merged is all of owning that perspective. The guilt I feel when life comes over work is a trick. There is no such thing as putting life over work. All of the work I have done has been continuous, inseparable, from life. What is work but a pass-time I chose? Maybe I like the physics definition best:

Workdisplacement of the point of application in the direction of the force.

pumpkin ring

In other words, steps taken in the direction of your intention. I would wish that on all my friends.

Environmental architecture

All of our technology comes from nature. Not only did we creatures build it, but we would be silly to think we are inspired by something other than natural processes. The more we learn about how biology and biosphere work, the more our own advances look like an homage.

My challenge is to show this back and forth in a collection of silk wall quilts. I will borrow inspiration from Saint John architecture, and unlike some of my previous quilts, these will not just be the buildings. These buildings will be overwritten by their naturally occurring counterparts.

Saint John Industrial Landscape_10 architecture, waterfall, water, roof

I chose Saint John because of the breakdown, a sort of reversion to something less strict and geometric.

Saint John Industrial Landscape_8And then I thought, what about the other side of this coin? Don’t we transform nature into architecture?

New HampshireThese views of New Hampshire are begging to morph into buildings and cities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I wonder where we draw the lines between technology and nature. At first glance it seems pretty easy to make the distinction between what is made and what simply occurs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But does anything simply occur? Organisms evolve to adapt to niches put in place by other organisms, and all species have been forced to adapt to the overwhelming changes we’ve made to this planet. We make and change things because of evolved tendencies in our brains. So then maybe everything simply occurs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The lines get blurry when you put your thinking goggles on. Where do you place the line?

Nubile.

This piece is the adult insect, in full flight toward the viewer. It is also a gaze of awareness. I looked to the luna moth for inspiration, who seems to be made of leaves and twigs.
Insect Lifecycle Design Nubile - Allison Green - Bottleneck Consensus

This piece began with one of my favourite disciplines: silk painted quilts.

Nubile Process Allison Green_1

Finally with an excuse, I began collecting leaves and seeds. This was fall so I had a great colour selection to choose from. After cutting them to shape I applied a sealant for durability. Like this they look almost manufactured.

Nubile Process Allison Green_2

They were then arranged in a sort of gradient. I loved this part. The sealed leaves felt like leather and had a variability of surface that man-made textiles can’t achieve.

Nubile Process Allison Green_3

They were quilted in place, a challenge to not push too hard and rip them. Next time I would love to try fresh leaves. I cut out some of the paths so the silk could poke through.

Nubile Process Allison Green_5

Then came the little tree seeds, all lined up in a row. They remind me of the feathers on a moth’s wings.

Nubile Process Allison Green_7

Some rigidity along the edge to add curl to the wings, and dimension for the body. Seemingly soft, this creature has pokey edges and stones behind the eyes.

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_25_1

Fragile though she is, she creates a strong shadow, and witnesses all.

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_22_1

Nubile

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_22_1

Nubile
Silk face and backing, cotton interior and thread. Sealed leaves, tree seeds, stone, and wool.
40″ x 8″ x 30″ © Allison Green 2013.

The third piece in the Time Flies Collection, this shows the adult insect is in full flight toward the viewer. It also takes the form of a gaze of awareness.

See how it was constructed, and the other items in the series: Nascent, Nymph, and Nesting.
Exhibited with Foundation at the Saint John Arts Centre, Saint John, NB.
Pricing available upon request.

Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_35_1 Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_33_1 Insect Lifecycle Sculptures_25_1

Timber Timbre

I like trees. They sound nice, feel nice, smell nice, act nice. They help me imagine nice things, like a world where all constructs are as self-sufficient and sturdy. A lot of my thoughts lately surround trees and their penchant for enlightening people.
Yerxa 161

Last weekend was Harvest Jazz and Blues time in my city. The whole downtown turns into a festival. I spent the weekend silk painting and quilting in the midst of torrential rain, happy music-goers, and fire juggling performers.

The piece I created was the first designed in my new shared warehouse studio, Fredericton Makerspace. There I feel full of gumption and efficiency. I tacked paper to the walls and swayed to Crystal Castles, conjuring up these dancing trees.
Dancing tree drawings WM

I’ve found the computer to be a swell friend where decision-making is concerned. I was looking to arrive at the purple/green/gray/brown tones of the bark on scaley spruce trees. I settled my colours, traced the piece onto silk, and then off to Harvest my skills.
Dancing tree drawing - Allison Green - Bottleneck Consensus

Some kindly photographers caught me working away. Talking to the passersby gave me a very romantic view of busking. A surprise to me, many felt my work spoke of female empowerment. That is not such a bad thing to have bleed from my art when I’m not looking.
James Walsh - Allison Green
James Walsh Photography

The musical brouhaha added rhythm to my brush strokes, the painted silk sparkled under incandescence. I already thought it a magical medium but my little alcove of light amplified this.
Emily Elizabeth Photography - Allison Green2Emily Elizabeth Photography

The next day was full of warmth and mud-scent while I quilted bark and ripples. Complete, I am pleased. It is my city at Harvest time; giant trees by the water, compelled to movement by the downtown vibrations.
Timber Timbre Tree Quilt WM - Allison Green - BottleneckConsensus_3

“Timber Timbre” will be up for silent auction at Isaac’s Way from Sept 22nd. Much of the proceeds will go to children’s music lessons. I hope it finds its way to a home full of song.

Flux

Flux Silk Quilt - Allison Green WM

Flux
Silk face, cotton interior, backing, and thread. 45 x 45 in © Allison Green 2013.

Circuit board silk painting with free-motion quilting. Inspired by the innards of an old laptop.

See the work in progress.
Created on site at The Eager Clothsmith, Barracks Fine Craft Shop, Fredericton, NB.
Sold to private collection.