July 19, 2011

A New Textile: "Objects #4"

Objects #4, hand dyed wool on linen, 9 x 15 inches.

While working on this final piece for the group of four Objects, based on screen shots from the film Objectified, I had to do something that I rarely do: redye some of the wool because the color didn't seem quite right. The plan was always that this piece would be made up of a couple of grays, which already had me wondering if they would work with the other three pieces. I dyed a mid greenish gray, a light blue-gray and an earthy cool red, and I began hooking. I soon felt that the light gray wasn't light enough and didn't have enough blue in it; without more contrast with the darker gray, the work looked a little dead. And, the red was too retiring, too cool. So out came the dye pots again; I redyed a new piece of wool for the light blue-gray, putting a touch of orange in with the blue to gray it; you can see the variations of color in the detail below. I had to dye a new piece of wool because, as with watercolor, you can't make a dyed piece of wool lighter.

I was able to overdye the red, though, putting it back in the pot and adding some yellow and orange to warm it, which gave the oval shape more presence.

Here is the completed group of four (do we call that a quartet?) hanging on my studio wall. The light gray of #4 picks up the slightly different light gray on the upper right. I think that the newest piece works with the others, certainly with its composition. I hope the color works because it is what it is at this point. One other thing I wonder about is whether I should consider the four pieces as one work, inseparable; I hadn't seen them that way at first. Do you think they should stay together?

Some recent paintings are hanging with Objects in the studio; the two mediums are so different, yet I hope there's a unifying sensibility at work.


  1. To my eye they could be separate, or if grouped, perhaps put into a row. The brown oval tends to pull eye towards it at the expense of more subtle activity in other quarters.

  2. I like it as a quartet because I love the visual conversation that starts up and complexifies as you keep looking - rich. this recent oval reminds me of something typographic - a 'o' trying to fit in, trying to find its space but not settled in, not finished - still alive.

  3. I agree with Rappel. And for me, the brown ovoid, gives some weight to the composition. Especially, with the lime green swoop shooting up from it. OMG! You could play with these pieces for days couldn't you?

  4. Agree with others about weight, color and composition. I actually find #4 the strongest piece in the series. Maybe due to its purity, how it embodies the whole process. Together this is a different dynamic than separately. I can magine #4 as a marvelous colored concrete landing pad you would be able to look down on and see in plan view: oh la la!

  5. thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful comments. I agree that the big brown oval is a strong shape, probably because it's larger than the others, and dark. I will have to play with placement for a while, maybe trying them in a vertical row. I did think of them as separate pieces inspired by the same thing, but do like how they converse with each other. On facebook, people tended to like them as separate pieces. I'm still changing my idea from group to individual and back again, not yet settled on how I think of them. I guess it's going to take more mulling it over.