Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Dale Chihuly; Sculptural glass

Dale Chihuly has had a big impact on my work; his sculptural glass pieces are like enormous brightly coloured jewels or massive sweeties. 'Persian Ceiling' at the V&A (2000) was a riot of colour and sinuous organic forms, while the Chandelier in the entrance hall of the V&A and some of his larger vessels seem impossible!
Although my own work is stripped of colour at present I am very interested in the way that he creates complex inter-relationships between his pieces by piling them, one inside another, clustering them or placing them in close proximity.
I have explored inter-relationships of form, silhouette and texture in my own work.

I am also interested in the flowing bio-morphic forms that he generates through the manipulation of molten glass; his vessels and sculptures are suggestive of sea creatures and coral. Chihuly exploits these reef-like qualities very successfully, particularly when grouping his pieces together. Lit from above against a dark background his work has vividness and luminosity that is breathtaking.
I covet his work but can't afford it! Maybe one day; in the meantime I console myself with exploring his ideas and applying them to my own work.

Check out his work at the link shown.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Junya Wantanabe: Radical Fashion Exhibition at the V&A (2001)

I thought it would be a good idea to post some of the influences that have impacted on me, my work and visual preoccupations so far.

The Radical Fashion Exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum back in 2001 was the start of this particular journey. As always with the V&A Fashion work; the exhibition was brilliantly curated and displayed. Packed with stunning ideas and extraordinary fabric manipulation.
An evening dress made from sweatshirt fabric constructed using a single continuous seam by Vivienne Westwood. Tightly fitting architectural precision in silk jersey and black silk faille by Azzedine Alaia, and a cheeky subversion of materials from Jean Paul Gaultier in both his evening dress fashioned out of Cable knitted grey wool and a beautifully tailored denim coat encrusted with thousands of jet beads. These were all highlights for me.

However, I was really captivated by the Junya Wantanabe installation. Glowing fabric forms engineered out of layers of semi-transparent organza stitched together at strategic points to create these sculptural dresses that enveloped the body of the wearer. Like giant Christmas decorations, each had apparently emerged from a flat box. I can imagine the forms and structures gradually being revealed as gravity did its work, and spent a long time in the exhibition trying to figure out the mechanics of how these garments had been made.
Reminiscent of floating jelly fish, the absence of colour gave these pieces a ghostly, ethereal quality.

The idea of transition/transformation from 2D to 3D explored by Wantanabe in these garments has continued to inform my work. I have used stitching, construction and piercing techniques, exploring possibilities of shape, structure and transparency to create both free standing and hanging forms, some of which are featured above.

I am still in love with the simplicity/purity of the white on white aesthetic; it allows the complexities and textures of the fabric structures to be seen clearly. I also enjoy the way that directional light can be used to explore the visual possibilities of my fabric sculptures.

In short, the impact of seeing these pieces from Junya Wantanabe's Autumn/Winter 2000/2001 collection for Comme des Garcons was very significant and still continues to resonate in my work.
I know that I will want to revisit their structural and material qualities again and again in the future!