Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Louise Bourgeois: A small sample of so many dimensions

“I always had the fear of being separated and abandoned. The sewing is my attempt to keep things together and make things whole.” Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois
5 panel piece, fabric and stitching
18 x 14 inches, per panel
45.7 x 35.6 centimeters, per panel
CR# BO.11749
One of her better known textile works is a fabric book created in 2004, called Ode â l’Oubli (Ode to Forgetfulness). The book was constructed of fabrics she had collected over a lifetime and it incorporates a variety of textile techniques, including appliqué, embroidery, tufting, rolling quilting, weaving and layering. Read more about it in an excellent article in the New York Times by Amy Newman.  More to be seen here.
Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 1996, Fabric, lace and thread, Courtesy Cheim & Read, Galerie Karsten Greve, and Galerie Hauser& Wirth, © Louise Bourgeois Photo: Peter Bellamy.  Resource: here.http://arttattler.com/archivebourgeois.html
An exercise currently making the rounds on Facebook involves leaving a "like" in exchange for being assigned the name of an artist whom one is to research, to whatever extent, and share, along with an example of the artist's work.    It is not a meaningless FB distraction.  In a scant few hours (so far) gathering  remnants, a word I use intentionally, of Louise Bourgeois, whose name and some work were familiar to me, I have been expanded.  Thank you to long-time friend Natalie Douglas, who may be found here, among other sites, for the perfect assignment.

I have included multiple links to those who share what they know of the life and work of Louise Bourgeois for I could not distill such richness after so brief an acquaintance.  Even the used copies of books by and about her are fairly pricey on Amazon.  How fortunate that my son has ties with an art school library.

Because fabric and sewing have always spoken to me, that is the aspect of her art which felt the most accessible.  Also, reading of how in her final 10 years she began to exhibit a lifetime of saved clothing and linens, either in as-is states or reworked into other objects and forms, resonated for me particularly since earlier this month, in the good beginning of a massive de-cluttering, I donated 4 30-gallon bags of clothing, shoes and purses to a local thrift store.  I could not, in my 60s, imagine the energy, the vision, necessary to reconfigure them into art.  She was in her 80s and 90s when she produced these works.

The past, how it can seem a sentient other that seduces us away from the present, has been very much in my thoughts.  Louise Bourgeouis' use of its pieces to create a new whole suggests a variant on that reality.


susan t. landry said...

one of my very, very favorite artists. i even have her autograph! thank you for this...
and happy new year, marylinn!

RachelVB said...

I love the opening quote. So much of what we do is piece together and make whole the things we are afraid of - fill the gaps as it were.
Happiest of New Year's Marylinn! xoxo

beth coyote said...

As a quilt maker and knitter, i have always thought of fiber and fabric as particular to women, making useful and warm and recycled. A room full of old quilts is a marvel. Most not even signed...

Radish King said...

Oh she is fantastic. Thank you for this reminder. It is so odd that I have traveled from painting back to the embroidery of my youth which in turn has made me want to paint again.
love and happy 14

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - I thought of you as I found the fabric connections, just as I thought of you when I found - and kept - linen shirts and pants during my purge. I can easily understand why she is a favorite. An autograph, how fine. Happy New Year to you and James. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - Like knitting up the raveled, careworn sleeve of time, all of us, always. Always the patching and filling. The same to you for 2014, glories undreamed of. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - Yes, I think the same. Though I think knitting may be beyond me, I've sewn, made up patterns, long admired quilts for the imaginative frugality. My grandfather saved and straightened used nails, my grandmother scraps of fabric. It was making-do, they didn't know it was art. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - She is fantastic. What I did know of her I knew from your mentions. Have you seen Mister Finch on Facebook, his moths created from embroidered vintage linens? Both painting and embroidery have been tugging at me. The difference is, you act upon it. Wishing you a year of wonder. xo