October 21, 2009

A New Rug Hooking Project, "Floating Squares", Inspired by Watching Ozu's "Late Autumn"

The films of Yasujiro Ozu are visually stunning, each scene composed with the close attention to detail of a still life painter. The camera is always at a low level, so that we are looking up at the characters, and is fixed. If an empty interior is presented, we then see a figure move across the hall, into a hidden room on the right, then back into the frame, moving naturally through the visible space. Each scene is built of clear horizontal and vertical elements, receding in orderly planes. Before seeing Late Autumn, a film made in 1960, all the Ozu works I knew were in black and white, so watching this stunning work was a revelation. I'd never seen a film so consciously composed with color elements: the red repeating the red, the stripes picked up horizontally and vertically, a scene in warm tones or cool. This formal feast is on top of the sensitive, gentle explorations of character, of family and friendship.

In one scene, I saw a pair of hanging scrolls, each with a plain square in the center. The proportion of long narrow rectangle with a simple square appealed to me. Instead of placing the two squares in the center, I'm aligning the lower edge of the left with the upper of the right, creating a more dynamic relationship. This work will be a diptych, each part being 20 inches by 8 inches. I dyed the background color by using a spot dyeing technique: dropping color (the two colors of the squares, plus a light ochre/yellow) by spoonsful on fabric bunched in a tray. When hooked, it will give a random color effect. I'm hoping the squares will indeed seem to be floating within their airy confines.

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