Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tenth in New Series: One Thing and Another

Tentatively titled: One Thing and Another

Again, hand-dyed linen, pieced,  and measuring 24 x 24. Hand-stitching with white embroidery floss. 
Detail shot below:

One Thing and Another, detail

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Ninth in New Series: A Significant Other

Tentatively titled: A Significant Other

Making progress with my goal of having twelve new pieces for a solo show in early January.

Like the others in the series, this one was made of hand-dyed linen, pieced, and measures 24 x 24. The swirl of activity in the upper right is created with a variety of couched threads.  The fuchsia on the left is not as intense as it shows in the photo.

Originally it was meant to have a different orientation, which I have shown below, and which would require a different title. Which do you prefer?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Christmas!

To express the pleasures of the season, I look back and reflect on the wonderful exhibition of John Little paintings, held at Montreal's Galérie Eric Klinkhoff this fall.

Rue Scott, Quebec, John Little, 1967

John Little had a way of making our mundane and slushy winter streets lyrical.

And so I wish you contentment in the small and ordinary things at Christmas, and throughout the year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Eighth in New Series: Out of the Blue

tentatively titled: Out of the Blue

Yet another finished piece in my new series! Measuring 24 x 24, made of pieced hand-dyed linen, and featuring hand-stitching. I took my inspiration from shapes I developed in my Touchstone series of acrylic collages.

I'm making good headway towards my objective of having a series of twelve large pieces made for an upcoming solo show.

Below is a detail of the hand-stitching with variegated yarn, used to create the small shape near the lower edge. I like the way the rough, irregular embroidery contrasts with the smooth, clean piecing of the larger shapes.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Seventh in New Series: In the Absence of Evidence to the Contrary

Continuing with my new, minimalist series in hand-dyed linen, here is the latest one. Like the others, it measures 24 x 24, and is mounted on a black, painted gallery canvas.

tentatively titled: In the Absence of Evidence to the Contrary

The shapes in linen are pieced together with machine stitching. The only textural stitching on this one is on the small shape in the centre. The lines are created with white cording, couched into place.

I've included small, medium and large shapes, as well as curves and straight lines. The over-sized curves suggest something going on outside the frame. Detail shots below:

The hand-dyed linen is nicely mottled and has a rich interplay of colour.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sixth in New Series: Point / Counterpoint

Tentatively titled: Point / Counterpoint

Continuing with my new, minimalist series in hand-dyed linen, this piece features couched yarn and decorative stitching. A variegated thread enlivens the central, yellow shape.

I have tried to consider small, medium and large shapes when making the composition. Other areas of contrast are value (light/dark), colour saturation (bold/faded) and colour temperature (warm/cool). Lines include curved and straight, and the textures include regular spaced lines and more organic ripples of line. Three detail photos are included below:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wool War I

An example of "craftivism", Wool War I is on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until January 7, 2018. It consists of an 18-meter long column of 780 hand-knitted soldiers, and represents the work of 500 "craftivists" from all over the world. Nineteen countries are represented in their various identifying costumes. The project was initiated by French artist Délit Maille.

The Museum's website reads, in part,
"Wool War I highlights the fragile destiny of the soldiers and pays tribute to the victims of the Great War (1914-18). In this centennial memorial year of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the MMFA joins with these tiny hands in solidarity to launch a message of peace."
To read a definition of "craftivism" and to learn more about it, please see the Wikipedia page.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

"Fray", by Julia Bryan-Wilson

Well, here's something I hope to find under the tree this Christmas.

Published in October 2017, the book warrants a mini-review in the November 20 issue of The New Yorker:
"Combining history and criticism, this study of textile crafting highlights its social and political aspects. Bryan-Wilson explores items as varied as the Cockettes' drag-queen costumes, Chilean arpilleras that documented Pinochet's dictatorship, and the ideological rifts occasioned by the AIDS quilt. Discussing current crafting trends within the context of globalized mass production, she examines art – such as the unravelled-velvet 'blacklets' of Angela Hennessy – that physically deconstructs fabric as a means of commenting on the meaning craft practices have for black women and other marginalized groups. Textiles, she writes, 'are used to make the tangible things that surround bodies and that organize, structure, and lend meaning to the contours of everyday life.'"

Available on, which provides this description:

"In 1974, women in a feminist consciousness-raising group in Eugene, Oregon, formed a mock organization called the Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society. Emblazoning its logo onto t-shirts, the group wryly envisioned female collective textile making as a practice that could upend conventions, threaten state structures, and wreak political havoc. Elaborating on this example as a prehistory to the more recent phenomenon of 'craftivism'—the politics and social practices associated with handmaking—Fray explores textiles and their role at the forefront of debates about process, materiality, gender, and race in times of economic upheaval.

"Closely examining how amateurs and fine artists in the United States and Chile turned to sewing, braiding, knotting, and quilting amid the rise of global manufacturing, Julia Bryan-Wilson argues that textiles unravel the high/low divide and urges us to think flexibly about what the politics of textiles might be. Her case studies from the 1970s through the 1990s—including the improvised costumes of the theater troupe the Cockettes, the braided rag rugs of US artist Harmony Hammond, the thread-based sculptures of Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, the small hand-sewn tapestries depicting Pinochet’s torture, and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt—are often taken as evidence of the inherently progressive nature of handcrafted textiles. Fray, however, shows that such methods are recruited to often ambivalent ends, leaving textiles very much 'in the fray' of debates about feminized labor, protest cultures, and queer identities; the malleability of cloth and fiber means that textiles can be activated, or stretched, in many ideological directions.

"The first contemporary art history book to discuss both fine art and amateur registers of handmaking at such an expansive scale, Fray unveils crucial insights into how textiles inhabit the broad space between artistic and political poles—high and low, untrained and highly skilled, conformist and disobedient, craft and art."

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Please come to our opening!

Portrait of Leonard Cohen, Eric Mannella
oil on wood panel

I am very excited to be part of a group show celebrating the life and work of Leonard Cohen. Thirteen artists have come together, inspired by the Montreal-born poet, songwriter and musician. Our works reflect the complexity, humanity and mystery so evident in Cohen's oeuvre, and include sculpture, hand-made papers, collage and painting.

Tree Bowl, Mona Turner
oil on wood panel

So meet the artists! Enjoy a glass of wine! I hope that you will be able to join us at the show's opening, Saturday, December 9, from 1 to 3 pm, at the Rigaud Public Library, 102 Rue St.-Pierre.

The exhibition will continue until January 29, 2018. For library hours, and to access their holiday schedule, please visit the library website.

Né de la Lumière et de l'argile, Monique Verdier
acrylic, encaustic, gold and clay