Through Our Eyes
The Tree of Us +1
Saturday 5th June until Sunday 27th June 2021.
Suzanne Gummow, Maxine Fry, Kerrie Head and Jenny Bates
Working with others collaboratively provides encouragement, challenge, and continual learning. Deadlines keep the artist focused on producing a finished artwork. We started with three of us wanting to work together to encourage each other in our textile art endeavours, sharing fun and friendship. We decided we all loved trees, so ‘The Tree of Us’ was born. A dilemma arose when another artist joined – we all liked the original pun, so we added the ‘+1’.
We considered lots of ways to collaborate and liked the idea of our separate works together forming a larger work. This can be done by slicing apart a photo, or as we have done, each producing an imaginary scene but with style, colour palette and some design parameters in common, that fit together to tell a story.
Through Our Eyes
We challenged ourselves to work in a *naïve, even quirky style, using bright colours, with water, land and sky flowing from one piece to another. We swapped some fabrics for us all to incorporate in each piece, to help tie the individual pieces together. The sky was strip pieced and heavily quilted, raw-edge applique motifs added, with buildings, trees and flowers stylised. Considered embellishments enhance the designs and individual quirks add fun and interest to the whole.
The smaller pieces allow us to explore a motif from our larger piece in a different way, while keeping to the agreed style. Changing design elements, colour schemes, stitching, or embellishing techniques perhaps suggest a different time of day, changed weather conditions, another season, or a different location.
Early meetings honed our concept and size constraints. We discussed how we could make it all ‘hang together’ and made our fabric swaps. We drew up paper designs, checking that adjacent pieces flowed together, and made our backgrounds. Motifs were often pinned on until the next meeting so we could gather comments from the others.
One member moving to the country, and then COVID-19, threw us a challenge and we learned to share our work on Facebook and Zoom, meeting when we were able. There was great excitement when someone posted a photo of progress, spurring each other to continue, and sharing what was working for each of us. The encouragement and support of the group members fed our determination to carry on with the work.
Individual pieces depict versions of loved landscapes, and in this time of restricted travel, remind us of places where we find interest, beauty and connection with nature, interpreted ‘Through Our Eyes’.
Naive art is characterized by a childlike simplicity and frankness, and often there is an awkward relationship with the formal qualities of painting. Ignoring the rules of perspective produces works that appear “geometrically erroneous” with skewed perspectives and uneven shapes. There is a strong use of pattern; bold colour regardless of the composition, and details that just as rich whether they are in the foreground or background.
Unlike folk art, which adopts a similar simplistic approach, naive art doesn’t necessarily derive from a distinct cultural context or tradition.
Ref: Google Arts and Culture