My Eyes are Down Here

You can’t look away. I’ll make it easy for you.

Headless, hand-woven female bodies wait in the gallery. The ladies proudly look back at objectifying eyes. These women won’t be objects of desire. Embroidered eyes glare from breasts and loins and ovaries -- their faces wouldn’t be seen anyway. Gaze. In the pressure cooker of the gallery, pride, not shame; strength, not fear. Gender power is symmetric here.

Out-of-place eyes and domineering arrows direct the viewer to improper places without wasting any time, away from the missing brain. Or is her brain elsewhere? Identity is forced to become the body.

The walls will be lined with body-costumes, female figures draped on coat hangers. Fallopian pillows will border the walls. Sewn-on eyes will look back at viewers, daring them to protest.

Look at her and slur. Look into my eyes. Wait, you already are. You can’t look away.

I Would Wear That
A self-absorbed study in non-functional weaving

Is that a scarf?
No, it’s a wall hanging.
It could be a scarf.
No, it is a wall hanging.
But it could be a scarf.

I Would Wear That is a collection of useless handwoven wall hangings. Their only function is to look nice. I wove with colors I like to wear. They belong on the wall, not in my laundry basket. I wish my closet looked like this.

Color-coordinated and pretty is good. Functionality is overrated.

The collection is composed of cut-up and reassembled tapestries stretched on ellipsoid forms. Some pieces are single canvases, while others are amalgams of smaller pieces. Store-bought velvet and metallic cloth peeks through stressed holes in the handweaving. Loose stuffing makes them bulge like blisters.

Just look at the walls. Oh, yes, I would wear that.

V is Not for Vagina does not depend on the obvious symbol for meaning. It focuses on changing the composition, color, and texture of the form. Esthetic decisions alone create the tension, an undertow pulling forward the form. I created the handwoven and hand-painted tapestry during an artist residency at Arts Letters & Numbers in upstate New York this spring. A fiber artist among a poet, painters, and a filmmaker, I was forced to live up to the claim that fiber is art, too. I had to let go of my fiber security blanket.

 

I worked intensively on a single tapestry, working on small components only one at a time. I didn’t look back at what I had done before. I opened the piece at the residency’s group show, seeing it for the first time with the gallery guests.

V is for Verisimilitude.

Must I remember their faces?

Men I Have Known is a series of handwoven sculptures. Each three-dimensional tapestry represents a different lover. The name of each lover will be written by hand on the wall below each printed title, in red pen.

I have sculpted this fabric into phalluses that represent my sexual experiences: One Night in Vegas, Sigma Chi, The Bad Boy. Hanging my trophies on the wall, I reduce my partners to their sex organs. I’m not an ass man, I’m a dick girl.  The titles hint at what the sex was like. They are the only clue as to what transpired beyond the penis.

Handwoven fabric makes the pieces more accessible. The sculptures are smushy and soft, colorful and vibrant. They are adult stuffed animals, the best medium for male genitalia. Cartoonlike, these objects are approachable and fun, satirizing the mood. He is the sexual conquest, not me. Commodifying men’s genitalia flips the power play and satirizes all those men I have known.

I wove my 38 Voices in My Head sculptures to document what runs through my head. The sculptures’ surface and silhouette dominate the work. The palette is of neutral earth tones. Silencing any bright colors forces a focus on the textures and forms. You first see the surface.

These subtle forms became 3-dimensional diary entries, reminding me of what I’ve been asking myself. The threads tangle, bulge with uncertainty. The works’ personality—my personality—becomes more familiar the more you know it. The more I work, the better you’ll know me. 38 voices has become 49 so far, anyway; it’s never-ending.

The gallery would be lined with elegantly stuffed sculptures, a different idea attached to each piece: serious considerations, fleeting moments, just notions. My questions would physically line the walls. The room would become my brain.

Plight of the Art Mice

All over the world, fiber mice are being forced to work in inhumane conditions. Art establishments trap mice into being considered crafters instead of artists. Let us knock down the doors of oppression and celebrate fiber mice for who they really are: strong, vital, creative artists! As a beacon for this cause, for the next few months Art Mouse will live and weave inside these boxes in protest against the marginalization of fiber mice. Art Mouse’s proud praxis will prove that her creativity is inversely proportionate to her size.