June 11, 2014

A New Textile: "Red Bars"

Red Bars, hand dyed wool on linen, 12 x 10 in.

Like the last piece I completed, I was thinking of Russian Suprematism and Constructivism when I was working on the studies for this textile, such as this el Lissitzky graphic:

el Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1920; poster. Image courtesy of Wikiart.org

My textile, however, carries no political or social meaning, but is about the formal aspects of an artwork: shape, color, texture, balance and tension. In my sketches I'd tried white bars with a red and black background, but I thought that black and white with red was more effective. I divided the rectangle in half diagonally. Rather than have a smoother line for the meeting of the black and white diagonals, similar to the outlines of the red bars, I chose to have a zigzag of black and white down the center.

Red Bars detail

I like the energy that the black and white steps of wool loops brings to the piece; a bit of complexity within the simple shapes of the design.


  1. It's fascinating to me that these colors can speak so strongly to supremetism and constructivism -- likewise, a muted beige palette can always bring me to early cubism. A basically primary palette brings to mind Mondrian and Theo v. D. -- Joan Mitchell's palette always links her with Monet, in my mind. Stuart Davis..... a kind of pop supremetism? Very interesting, and throws light onto Ryman's decision to stay with white.

    1. Thanks for the interesting comment, Ravenna. I think it's also the form that reminds us of constructivism, along with the color. Ryman's white could also refer to Malevich's White on White.