Love, Decay and Repair

At the far end of the gallery, in direct line from the entry, are three large hooked hangings inspired by hosta leaves. They engage the entire wall with their soft new-green colour, six feet high, 27 inches wide each. They belong to each other, like triplets . Not that each is identical, but the colours and the method of working are the same; and together they describe a greater whole than the parts individually do.

These are called rugs, but I would hate to see such fine, detailed workmanship put on the floor to be walked on. Each is composed of strips of fabric cut into narrow strips which are hooked into the linen base from below, surfacing on “the right side” as loops no higher than 3/4 of an inch. By the way they are pulled up from underneath, they can be twisted or organized to lie parallel to each other or in circular patterns and this creates tactile passages of great visual interest. The attention to such  detail is what makes these large works sing.

Michelle Sirois-Silver is the artist and this is her Hosta Series number 2.  In this series, the plants are alive and well, unlike her Hosta Series 3 where Sirois-Silver explores the decay of the plant as it comes to maturity and then returns to the earth. In Series 3, the colours change to autumn rich rusts, soft tans and reds with deep  blue shadows; then just as the plant collapses into more muted colours, the soft beiges and browns like dry earth that it is about to join in the birth-life-death cycle.

Sirois-Silver says, “Love Decay Repair reflects my philosophy about art and craft and the seamless integration of traditional and contemporary design, techniques, practice and attitues. Applying and integrating unexpected materials and techniquies into hand hooked work has always intrigued me. In the “decay” pieces, the surface of the leaf begins to disintegrate, taking on a vulnerable quality. The colours are dull and muted. Tears and cracks begin to appear on the surface and new materials and layered techniques such as hand stitching, needle felt and machine stitching are used to depict aspects of decay and repair.”

I like to look at art work without reference to the artist’s intent and explanation. It allows me to feel, instead of analyzing. It helps me integrate the whole rather than to deconstruct. Having said that, I declare my deep interest in the constructive or creative process that is involved in making art. It is for this reason that, of all the works on display, I was spell-bound by the documentation that was tucked on a plinth beside the gallery attendant’s desk.

 

In two books, journals really,  Sirois-Silver collected her lively samples of colours, her explorations of composition, texture and tone. There is page after page of sketches with variations on her theme. There is an awesome display of creativity. .

The drawings are fresh. The ideas are recorded not only in pen, pencil and paint but in swatches of fabric, trial bits of hooking, buttons, fabric, threads and yarns.. You can see some of her visual art process. This, I think, is absolutely wonderful.Imperfect. Living.  Engaging.

I was very thankful to see these, precursors to the fine work that she has conceived into perfect, flawless wall hangings.

These are still on display until October 13, 2012, so if you have a chance come to see them, or look for her news on her web site:

http://www.michellesirois-silver.com/

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