Spotlight on 5 contemporary textile artists
We’re lucky at TextileArtist.org; our audience is extremely passionate about contemporary textile art. Newsletter subscribers often get in touch to let us know about the work of modern artists that they find interesting or inspirational. We’ve featured an array of wonderful artists on the site and these five are no exception. What makes them stand out for us is their ability to push the boundaries of what textile art is and show how contemporary work can fuse seamlessly with design or fine art.
Contemporary textile artist Nike Schroeder’s embroidery is beautiful, and works very well texturally. Her latest works dangle excess thread off the canvas, emulating the image dripping paint. This contrasts the work she makes with similar concepts in contemporary painting, highlighting the differences between each medium. Some of her works show characteristics of color-field painting, with the “dripping” threads moving seamlessly from one colour to another. These are primarily from her 2013 series “Transition,” as well as “Convex/Concave,” which showed thread pouring off of a triangular section of wood, so that the piece appeared as a waterfall, further highlighting the use of thread as a substitute for water.
Her figurative work tends to focus on young individuals from her daily life. This gives an incredible sense of her and her friends with a meticulous attention to detail that is very hard to achieve with embroidery. The Berlin-based artist uses this to its full extent, giving an astounding sense of depth to her work. Very little is simplified in her portraits, and her depiction of eyes is particularly spectacular. Schroeder also augments watercolor portraits with her embroidery.
For more information about Nike Schroeder visit NikeSchroeder.com.
This Bay Area artist works primarily through drawing and embroidery; her works have a very distinctive style, with brilliant colors and elegant line work. But where she truly separates herself is in her concepts, which are as diverse as they are clever. The common threads (pun unintended) in her work are that of contrasting nature. Femininity and masculinity are explored, as are domestic issues. Traditional craft items, such as doilies, are restructured in a fine art setting, intentionally shattering the line between art and craft.
This is also apparent in her series “Migratory Patterns”, which highlights movement, often with a distinctly socio-political view. As an artist with Japanese heritage, much of this work connects the link between Japan and the West Coast, primarily her San Francisco Bay region. A particularly moving and relevant piece documents the movement of the radiation away from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. In this piece, she uses doilies, a generally soft, domestic product, as the key to her diagrams, recontextualizing the positive and non-harmful into documentation of destruction.
To find out more about Lisa Solomon visit LisaSolomon.com.
Shannon Gowen is an artist based out of Austin, Texas, who utilises textiles in her mixed-media installations. Gowen is a versatile artist, who is adept at design and photography in addition to her fine art endeavours.
Her site-specific installation “Portals of Misconception,” a collaboration with carpenter Aldon Mines, challenges many concepts of what sculpture is, blending traditional barriers. The work forces the viewer to connect seemingly unrelated scenes, so that each experience is truly individual, and of course, each is not truly correct. “Portals” builds upon the human experience and shows how people’s individual conceptions of everything in life are skewed based upon their lives.
Her work often centres around the concept of the individual mind, with its truth and belonging. Her astoundingly intricate piece, “Memories of Calhoun County” does this especially well, with a farmhouse interior covered in the pages of books, an overturned bathtub, and an imprinted shadow of two figures sitting together. The work powerfully shows how memory is both intense and flawed, and that after long periods of time, memory is the only place that continues to hold truth.
Lilly Hillage is a British artist who approaches the textile world from that of theatre set design. Thusly, her work is largely based on the art of tapestries, but examines a feminine version of street art that centres on identity. These pieces often show beautiful, youthful women (often depicting young songstresses Lana Del Rey and Rihanna) engaging the viewer with a direct and unbroken gaze. She is also highly adept at incorporating classic graffiti text art in with these visions of women, in a way that highlights the depths of her work. Overlapping textiles provide this sense of three-dimensionality that is consistent with theatre design.
Her work is beautiful and wonderfully captivates a large and specific aspect of youth culture, praising the strong women at the forefront of contemporary music, and brings those who appreciate street art into textiles, combining two forms of art that are both non-traditional (in a gallery setting, anyway) and expansive. This is a marriage that should be explored more, as it highlights the connection with contemporary textile art and feminism, as well as forging a bond between two styles of art that are not as different as they might originally seem.
To find out more visit Lilly’s Tumblr blog.
Dawn Dupree is a contemporary textile artist based in London who is centred around the concept of urban living. Her work absorbs the gritty nature of city life, expressing it in a way that is both beautiful and jarring. Dupree has been making unique textile artworks for nearly 25 years, highlighting overlapping narratives that forces the viewer to deeply inspect the pieces for intrinsic meaning. The artist uses a significantly expansive variety of printing techniques for her wall hangings, from traditional photo-emulsion screening to actively engaging with the screen in hands-on interaction.
Often, her work depicts abandoned urban environments, bringing a sense of beauty to these deserted scenes. These images call to mind their rich history; what happened here before people left? What will happen here one day? Another significant aspect of her work is dealing with death and decay of cities and how that relates to the human experience. Cities are uniquely able to examine the progressive nature of a human life cycle. In our urban centers, constant construction is juxtaposed against that of our deconstruction, and Dupree’s images supplant objects for human figures.
To find out more about Dawn visit DawnDupree.com.
Who is your favourite contemporary textile artist? Let us know by leaving a comment below.