Text by: Amy Gogarty
Jane Kidd's Handwork Series: Disciplinarity and the Reparative Impulse
Jane Kidd's Handwork Series: to the bone, in the blood, from the heart (fragments 1-9) consists of nine individually framed tapestries. The series simultaneously embodies the concept of "handwork" and questions the value our culture places on that work. These recent tapestries depart dramatically from earlier ones for which the artist is well known, in particular, the brilliantly coloured matrices of floating symbolic forms exhibited in the 1990s. In comparison, these new works are spare and focused. Colour is subdued and limited; the structure of each juxtaposes representational imagery of the hand and/or forearm against a broader field of traditional cloth. Both fabric and limb are represented as fragments, suggesting their shared peril in the contemporary world. Visually, the works attract on the level of invention, technical skill and aesthetics, while conceptually, they engage theoretical, historical and pedagogical issues currently raised by contemporary tapestry practice.
Tapestry's marginality in terms of contemporary art practice is often noted. Textile or fibre art gained prominence in the period 1960-1990 due, in part, to critics identifying it with feminist, psychoanalytic and post-structural discourse current in interdisciplinary practice at that time. While these theoretical approaches proved remarkably productive for many, the focus on interdisciplinary appropriation of fibre techniques and non-traditional approaches came at the expense of traditional disciplinary skills and engagement with materials. Despite inspired fusing of virtuoso technique with daring themes and provocative imagery, contemporary tapestry often finds itself in something of a critical vacuum. Weavers are forced to defend their dedication to skillful labour in a world more attuned to interactive media, immersive environments and insistence on the new. Few paradigms exist to measure--or value--the contribution of informed hand labour to the ethics, technological ethos or conceptual sophistication of our modern world.
Valuing the handmade lies at the heart of much of Jane Kidd's practice. For nearly thirty years, she has produced and exhibited tapestries, investigated historical and world traditions of woven art, collected, lectured about and physically recreated remarkable examples of tapestry. This sustained and intensive examination has generated insight into and conclusions about relationships between highly skilled hand labour and a culture's ability to conceptualize and integrate personal and collective experience. The Handwork series functions as a trace or record of her investigations. The quasi-scientific presentation of each work within a black expanse of frame contributes to them functioning as propositions, evidence or examples in an extended argument. Each work approaches the theme from a unique perspective, and each makes reference to what Diana Wood Conroy calls "the 'symbolic' aura of tapestry, with its weight and power of history." Collectively, the nine works comprise a passionate dissertation on the role of the hand and its industry in defining the human.
What forms the basis to a claim for specialized knowledge deriving from hand making as opposed to mechanical reproduction? In his groundbreaking analysis of the challenge computers pose to traditional handcraft, Peter Dormer posits that "different kinds of making may provide different kinds of understanding." Objects enter our world through a combination of tacit or "hands-on" knowledge of materials and processes and through the application of engineered or "distributed knowledge." Modern technology achieves some of its remarkable power because it can be divided and circulated as discrete units, which may be used by others entirely ignorant of the making process. Distributed knowledge allows us to drive cars, operate computers or even read books without any personal knowledge of the formation or origin of these technologies. The goal of distributed knowledge, the "technological ethos" governing the modern world, is the efficient management of risk or uncertainty arising from undisciplined processes. What prevents our world from becoming inescapably dull--or dangerous--is that the tacit, hands-on knowledge possessed by individuals allows them to modify, alter or "kit-bash" pre-packaged tools for personal use. Hands-on experience and knowledge of materials and processes enable us to imagine objects and environments beyond the dominant frame. As Dormer writes, "It is not craft as 'handcraft' that defines contemporary craftsmanship; it is craft as knowledge that empowers a maker to take charge of technology." In a world of frightening uniformity, organized by highly toxic and increasingly dangerous technologies, the knowledge of the maker takes on growing importance.
Discussions of technology often privilege the mechanical, electronic or digital forms so prevalent in our own built environment. Frequently overlooked are definitions of technology as process. Favoring subjective experience over final product, ancient peoples deployed complex technologies and exhibited preferences for forms more in tune with their cultural values. Writing about Andean textiles, Rebecca Stone-Miller states that cultures hold attitudes towards and make choices regarding available technologies. Cultures develop or elaborate technologies such as stone tools or loom weaving far beyond anything envisioned by evolutionary schema or technical determinism, a term used to imply that constraints inherent in a particular material or technique determine the outcome of its application. Within Andean culture, commitment to a "technology of essence" over mere appearance spurred development of weaving techniques such as interlocking weft or discontinuous warp to preserve the integral wholeness of the cloth. Concealed areas on draped figures or mummy bundles were woven with precise, symbolic designs and carefully finished, as the perfection of the fabric conveyed the importance of the wearer or corpse wrapped within. Makers were less concerned to conserve labour than to create a suitably magnificent textile for offering, as it was not uncommon for such beautifully wrought fabrics to be sacrificed in ritual ceremonies.
Hands-on knowledge is as subject to environmental pressures as are species of plants or animals. Once knowledge of materials, processes or cultural meanings is lost, it can not be recreated except as a simulacrum. Even as simulacrum, this knowledge is significant, as it often provides a major access to the lives, values or worldviews of past cultures, particularly in the absence of written records or living descendants of that culture. The loss of paradigms for imagining creative worlds threatens our survival as much as do the homogenization and commercialization of plant and animal life through genetic modification and global capitalism. The recreation of historical models and sustainable technologies by skilled producers such as Kidd constitutes a political, ethical and moral stance, a challenge to our increasingly standardized environment. It is for this reason that the hand and culturally significant textiles both feature so prominently in the design of this series. Kidd has been influenced by Frank R. Wilson's study, The Hand, which relates the evolutionary development of the human hand to neurobiology, language development and the expression of different, distinct forms of intelligence. The hand, graphically presented as bone, sinew and nerve, embodies an integral component of cultural development as signified by the samples of woven fabrics. One begets the other: the extraordinary engineering of the hand references the complexity of culture, while the intricate patterns of surface design and textile structure suggest the many interrelated strands of human industry.
Cross-culturally, weaving is associated with narrative, sanctioned by female goddesses such as Isis, Athena or Spider Woman of the Navajo. Among the Dogon of Africa, a culture in which men also weave, a single, mythical event brought both language and weaving into being. For them, to be speechless is to be naked, and to be clothed in textiles is to be transformed from "an animal without language into a speaking, rational being--a member of the tribe." Grouped as a series, Kidd's nine panels evoke a sense of narrative, albeit one in which the plot is picaresque, allegorical and unresolved. As in any narrative, events are structured in time, which weaving embodies in two distinct modes. The actual weaving parallels oral culture in its focus on process, driven by desire and subject to multiple real and imagined possibilities. Non-weavers might assume the value of the tapestry lies explicitly in the design, the weaving of which constitutes little more than making up the pattern. Nothing could be further from the truth, particularly in the case of the artist-weaver, who weaves her own designs. Such weaving involves constant interpretation and translation. As a form of living speech, weaving transpires in the present and is hopeful. Peter Dormer calls this the "workmanship of risk," emphasizing that the process in this state is open to failure at any point as well as to spectacular, undreamed of success.
When finished, the weaving becomes an artifact, a written text. As process, weaving emulates cyclical time, structured by pattern, repetition and myth. As artifact, the woven form submits to linear time, economics and symbolic exchange. Artifactuality comes at the expense of the weaver's agency and access to language, yet it also initiates the possibility of a newly mobile cycle of time through engagement with a new viewer. The viewer reads the signs of the finished work, but the tactile and sensuous aspects of the woven surface inflect any purely cognitive interpretation. The written text or figured tapestry constitutes a symbolic bridge or hinge between two temporal environments. For it to function, to communicate across time, the bridge must be woven with all due care and attention. As an embodiment of the lived experience and deep time of a people, it is an archive of material comprising the symbolic equivalent to DNA.
Jane Kidd has mentioned instances in which identification across time provoked a sense of the uncanny, as in the weaving of fragment 9, which replicates a section of a 16th century verdure tapestry. The pattern is reproduced slightly over scale and woven in bright colours. The production of Renaissance tapestries required teams of weavers working long hours at their looms. The section of the pattern Kidd selected revealed a flaw, a tiny portion in which the colours were poorly matched, the design misinterpreted or carelessly construed. Was this evidence of active resistance on the part of a worker wearied by the arduous labour, poor lighting or distracting monotony of her task? Encountering the flaw, the blemish in the midst of the vibrant cloth, Kidd experienced a shock of recognition, identifying across time in a way that can best be understood by one who also practices a demanding craft. She "repaired" the flaw, making it right, initiating a reparative gesture. The term "reparative" derives from psychoanalyst Melanie Klein and has been used in current discourse by Jeanne Randolph. As Randolph writes:
The reparative impulse is altruistic, generous, synthetic. It does not cast out what is impure or ruined. It restructures, reinterprets, illuminates the potential of the impure subject, object, idea or form. The reparative impulse attempts an integration of grief for the lost ideal with the desire to make good for injury done. Reparative action is the endeavour to restore. Rather than hiding the traces of damage, it integrates them with grief for the lost ideal and the remaining qualities of value.
At the top of fragment 9, hooked fingers claw out at the viewer as if picking a shed. From this perspective, the hand resembles more a spider, the metamorphosed Arachne, who dared challenge the Greek goddess of weaving. Arachne's tapestry mocked the ruling order by revealing the havoc capricious gods wreak on mortal women. In the juxtaposition of clenched fingers with abundant forms, one senses Kidd's ironic appreciation of weaving's power to represent, as well as the costs--material, social and personal--such time-consuming representation incurs.
Diana Wood Conroy interprets the dual aspect of tapestry according to psychoanalytical and linguistic theory. Following Julia Kristeva, Wood Conroy likens the everyday textiles that surround and comfort us--blankets, jumpers, coverings--to the pre-linguistic, semiotic order of psychic experience, which is traditionally understood as female and maternal. Civilization is born of the symbolic order, associated with the "Law of the Father" or patriarchy, dominating and disciplining this base level of experience. Traditionally, fine art practice resides in the symbolic layer, and, as an elite form of highly skilled activity, so does tapestry. Within this paradigm, tapestry similarly functions as a hinge or bridge between an underlying mass of textile production associated with the body, the senses and the semiotic, and an elite level of symbolic signifying practice associated with the rational mind. For Kidd, this dual identity is particularly poignant and manifested in the actual structure of her material. She writes:
I embrace the power of the symbolic history of tapestry with its patriarchal leanings, but I am continually drawn to the pre-linguistic or female nature of cloth, referenced through images of the body and ritualized and domestic cloth. Although my works are distinctly formed through the tapestry technique, I consider them to be cloth and weave them with a weight, drape and surface that creates a parallel identity of cloth.
This dual identity locates the practice of tapestry not so much at the margin of creative practice as at the conjuncture or fold between dialectical fields, a position that uniquely conditions its power to speak and function as a reparative agent.
The reparative impulse appears directly in figure 8, in which a fully rendered image of a hand holding a needle and thread pauses above a patch of carefully darned fabric. A length of gathered cloth or woman's apron bisects the lower half of the composition. While most of these works depict auratic textiles--Renaissance verdure, Chinese silk tapestries of floating clouds or Italian silk velvet rich with pomegranates--fragment 8 addresses the far larger body of everyday, domestic cloth. Kidd's reparative gesture functions in several directions: it recuperates the value and integrity of domestic textiles, deploying the same skill and attention devoted to elite fabrics. The darning stitches, which mend, establish a visual metaphor or equivalence with the picked sheds, which represent. The "inchoate," maternal or pre-linguistic layer of domestic textiles discussed by Wood Conroy and others is literally hinged or bridged to the privileged, symbolic language of tapestry though the woven form. By replicating the gathered folds of the apron, Kidd emphasizes her attraction to the "weight, drape and surface" of fabric, marking tapestry's parallel or dual identity as both cloth and surface, textile and text.
Reparation for history, "grief for the lost ideal," underlies fragment 2, which interjects a sinewy, skeletal hand and forearm across a simulated expanse of tattered web and patches of Andean fabrics. The image of ruin conveys the extreme fragility and vulnerability of historical textiles, which fall prey to weather, economics, archaeology and greed. The dry coastal deserts preserved Andean fabrics to a remarkable degree, such that they stun us today with their bright colours, mind-bending complexity and extraordinary fineness of weave, yet still they remain open to ravage. That the fabrics were woven as shrouds to encase the sacred dead contributes to the miracle of their survival. If time and the elements have wrought disarray, science and technology have stripped the sacred fabric of its ritual function, converting it into an artifact, however beautiful, in preparation for our privileged view. Kidd's mindful simulation and of the shredded warp and isolated fragments speaks to a desire to repair the damage, to make good an injury wrought by happenstance and objectification.
Fragment 2 replicates a number of distinctly different Andean techniques: a Paracas embroidery of the Early Horizon Period (600-175 BCE), a Wari tunic with interlocking wefts from the Middle Horizon Period (CE 500-800) and Chancay double and painted plain weave of the Late Intermediate Period (CE 1000-1476). What is characteristic of all Andean fabric is the desire to weave the cloth whole, to avoid cutting or piecing fragments to produce a shaped garment, and to imbed symbolic patterns into the structure itself. This integrity is perversely countered in a Chancay double weave sampler that resembles the portion replicated in fragment 2. In this example, a small bag is emblazoned with twenty-one distinct patterns, each containing a single repeat, in double weave, which reverses the pattern of the other side. Such objects exist as mnemonic devices and displays of sheer technical virtuosity.
The Wari tunic fragment is also particularly interesting, demonstrating as it does a high degree of formal abstraction and variation created by collaborative groups of weavers. Close formal analysis of the organic dynamism characteristic of Wari tunics reveals a system of individual variation within collective constraints. Weavers introduce intentional variation as a creative, interpretive strategy appropriate to the nature and aesthetics of the production itself. The tunic results from wider social organization of skilled labour in addition to the weavers, including raising animals, harvesting and spinning wool and dyeing bright, stable colours. The Andean social system sustained creative collective activity through giving it meaning and value. Kidd's allusion to these masterpieces poses questions about the status of hand made objects in cultures other than our own. Intrinsically, the textiles are of little material value, yet their importance in terms of conceptual and technical sophistication, semiotic richness and sheer beauty was such that they occupied a central position in the Andean cosmology and in social, political and economic systems.
As with the Chancay sampler, the nine fragments of the Handwork Series themselves constitute a sampler or archive of patterns. Meaning is read across fragments as a product of difference, and difference is coded not only in the variety of cultures and classes represented, but also in formal differences between the works. In the pairing of arm, hand or hand fragment with patterned textile, spatial clarity is often established by isolating the anatomical fragment in a separate compartment. The effect of the whole is to focus the eye on the material surface of the woven work. The compositions can be described by methods and categories attributed to medieval composition by Michel Pastoureau. As he writes in The Devil's Cloth:
The medieval eye is particularly attentive to the materiality and structure of surfaces. This structure serves especially to locate places and objects, distinguish zones and levels, establish rhythms and sequences, associate, oppose, distribute, classify, and organize into a hierarchy. Whether it is a matter of walls and floors, fabric and clothing, implements of daily life, leaves on trees, the coats of animals, or the human body itself, any surface, whether natural or manufactured, is always a medium for classifying signs.
The three dominant categories he discusses can be observed in these tapestries: the plain, the patterned and the striped. According to Pastoureau, the plain is quite rare, partly because medieval technology possessed few means to achieve such perfection. Temptation to "dress up" the plain area is great, and the plain, as opposed to either the striped or patterned, produces a strong emphasis requiring some explanation. In Kidd's work, faint geometric lines traverse monochrome areas, creating visual interest and distributing tension across the warp. Kidd recuperates what she has always considered to be a property of tapestry, its ability to render forms with great accuracy and sensitivity to line and value. She utilizes the directional aspect of the weft to emphasize linear qualities of tendons in fragment 2, and delicately picks out the undulating forms of ulna and radius in fragment 7. The strong emphasis produced by the plain areas draws attention to the bones they frame by placing them clearly within their own space.
The patterned, Pastoureau states, "almost always expresses something formal, majestic, indeed even sacred," as it consistently does in these fragments. Pattern bodies forth as a self-referential sign--remote, self-sustaining and contained. Patterned surfaces distinguish themselves from the merely spotted through their submission to order and geometry, a touchstone of all woven structures. The most serene and self-absorbed of all the tapestries, fragment 7, reproduces a magnificent silk, weft ikat sari from eastern India. This work recalls Kidd's travels to that country, where she visited a number of silk-producing villages. In this part of the world, cloth has long played a significant role in the social, cultural and religious life of the people. In its whole, uncut form, it is used to mark threshold life events such as birth, death, the fulfillment of vows, or as an offering to the gods. The long bones in fragment 7 rest against a bed of tussah silk, similar to what Kidd observed women hand-rolling in the villages. Warm, natural tans contrast with vibrant lilac, orange and red hues of the dyed yarns of the patterned area. Closely packed wefts simulate the ikat pattern, paying homage to the skill, beauty and majesty of these traditional textiles.
The medieval European mind linked stripes with the idea of variation, which, at that time, connoted the impure, inconstant or even wicked. One explanation for this interpretation of stripes lies with visual perception. Medieval imagery required clear separation of figure and ground, while stripes--particularly even ones--dissemble the identity of each and invite deception. Stripes disrupted the standard medieval way of reading an image, starting at the back and moving progressively closer to the surface in layers. Visual confusion creates an opening through which radical doubt, so dangerous for faith, might enter. It is interesting that medieval Europeans placed their trust in visual integrity, the technology of essence, no less than--if quite differently from--the Andean and South Asian weavers. Stripes disorient and energize the surface of several fragments. They attract the gaze, beguile the eye and generate confusion, but to a purpose. Flemish painters in the early Renaissance used stripes to designate zones of lesser importance, diverting and holding the eye like a trap, so that the "real truth" of the painting, the presence of a holy figure, might make its impression more slowly upon the consciousness of the viewer. Certainly the disposition of, plain, patterned, striped and figured areas across Kidd's surfaces forces the eye to work attentively, to struggle to decipher and make sense of the overall tableau.
Regarding this series of nine works and considering the issues raised we are challenged to adapt our own thinking to comprehend this work. Kidd's tapestries challenge us to examine the value of the handmade, the relevance of history to contemporary practice, the use of non-European models or paradigms and the importance of beauty. Paradigms are spectacles we adopt in order to see the world more clearly, and it is apparent that the dominant models presented us by much contemporary theory leave areas of craft production well out-of-focus. The masters of the technological ethos insist on the perfection of their machines: that which is out of focus has no need to be seen. However, those of us who view such claims with skepticism are wise to pause. I am reminded that on April 11, 2003, I sat with Jane Kidd in her beautiful studio, admiring not only her marvelous weavings but also her treasured collection of world textiles, her books filled with images of yet more examples of extraordinary craft. On that day, half way around the world, the Museum of Baghdad was abandoned to its terrible fate of loss and shame. One nation, driven by technological certainty, stood by while treasures marking millennia of history were plundered and destroyed. If ever the danger of insufficient paradigms for understanding were laid bare for all to see, this was it. Objects are not lives, yet they code the experience and vision of living people in ways that can reach across time, and, for this reason, their preservation is essential.
In his essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," Walter Benjamin writes, "The uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being imbedded in the fabric of tradition." Benjamin asserts that mechanical reproduction alters the perception of the original by stripping it of its aura, which clings to the original. In the absence of--or as a substitution for--the original, he felt, the arts of mass culture could "meet the beholder halfway." His epigraph quotes Paul Valéry, "In all the arts there is a physical component which can not longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which can not remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power." Those words, spoken with such optimism early in the twentieth century, come back to haunt us now. Precisely because our "modern knowledge and power" are so omnipotent--and so destructive--it is more important now than ever to open our eyes to other ways of thinking, feeling and doing, and to reconsider the value of other forms of production. Our theoretical spectacles are not defective, merely limited, and we must learn to look beyond their frame.
Paradigms are forms of distributed knowledge, powerful tools packaged and circulated to manage risk through the bringing together of many disciplines and industries. Just as we might alter or creatively "misuse" software to better suit our purposes, those of us with tacit hands-on knowledge of craft production must creatively alter and "kit-bash" contemporary theory for our needs. Theories developed over the past twenty or more years to analyze and explicate cross-disciplinary practice are useful, but they have been developed to serve the hegemonic view. Raymond Williams points out that no culture fully exploits the entire range of human practice, and that, instead, the dominant order selects and excludes from that potential range. It fosters and exploits those practices best suited to its immediate interests and is often blind to practices and meanings outside its ideological frame of view. Rather than banishing them to the margins of the contemporary practice map, we should nurture and acclaim artists developing traditional skills and knowledge. As a vital "research and development" arm of culture, these individuals preserve and recuperate essential alternative models needed by our civilization to survive.
Williams traces the shift from conceptualizing the work of art as an object to understanding it as a practice. This concept, which he applies to works of literature, music and performance, whose "objecthood" is confined to a set of notations to be performed, rather than a palpable body, is useful for thinking about craft. As he writes:
The relationship between the making of a work of art and its reception is always active, and subject to conventions, which in themselves are forms of (changing) social organization and relationship, and this is radically different from the production and consumption of an object. It is indeed an activity and a practice, . . . only accessible through active perception and interpretation. . . . What this can now show us here about the practice of analysis is that we have to break from the common procedure of isolating the object and discovering its components. On the contrary we have to discover the nature of a practice and then its conditions.
Examining the current state of craft production in general, tapestry weaving in particular, and Jane Kidd's Handwork Series: to the bone, in the blood, from the heart (fragments 1-9) specifically, certain things become clear. The conditions of contemporary practitioners working with traditional disciplinary skills incorporate a special relationship to history. In its optimistic or utopian form, tradition-based contemporary practice incorporates the reparative gesture not to obliterate or disguise history, but to acknowledge and ameliorate its often-painful rifts. Such practice is based on the development of skill and constitutes an independent paradigm in itself. This paradigm does not reject contemporary theory or innovation, but it does protest the invisibility to which it is often consigned. It occupies a special position of disciplinarity as polar complement to interdisciplinarity. If meaning can only be produced across difference, then the unique difference of skillful, disciplinary knowledge makes possible the very interdisciplinary field we so value today. In her striking new series of works, Jane Kidd both articulates a passionate argument for her craft and fulfills her aesthetic quest to create beauty, purpose and meaning in the contemporary world.
For example, see Diana Wood Conroy, "Curating Textiles: Tradition as Transgression," International TapestryJournal, Winter 1995, 12-15; Janis Jefferies, "A Textile Identity," International Tapestry Journal vol. 2 no. 3 (Fall 1996): 9-13; and Jane Kidd, "Checking the Pulse: Reflecting on the 'American Tapestry Biennial 4' in an Expanded Field," paper presented at Looking at Tapestries: Views by Weavers and Scholars (Chicago: Gloria F. Ross Center for Tapestry Studies and The American Tapestry Alliance, March 21-23, 2003, photocopied).
Wood Conroy, 1995, 14.
Peter Dormer, "Craft and the Turing Test for Practical Thinking," in The Culture of Craft, ed. Peter Dormer (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), 137.
Jeanne Randolph, "Influencing Machines: The Relationship Between Art and Technology," in Psychoanalysis and Synchronized Swimming and other writings on art (Toronto: YYZ Books, 1991), 37.
The term "kit bashing" has been attributed to Canadian sculptor Kim Adams. See: Rafael Gomez-Moriana, "Kit bashing, Street Remakes and Bisexual Architecture," C Magazine 70 (summer 2001): 12-17.
Randolph, 38, citing Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (New York: Vintage Books, 1964).
Rebecca Stone-Miller, To Weave for the Sun: Ancient Andean Textiles in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994), 18.
Frank R. Wilson. The Hand: How its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998; Vintage Books, 1999).
Kathryn Sullivan Kruger, Weaving the Word: The Metaphorics of Weaving and Female Textual Production (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2001), 24.
Mieke Bal, Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, trans. Christine van Boheemen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985), 37.
Jane Kidd, interview by author, 11 April, and 2 May, 2003
Jeanne Randolph, 47.
Diana Wood Conroy, "An Archaeology of Tapestry," in Material Matters: The Art and Culture of Contemporary Textiles (Toronto: YYZ, 1998), p. 59.
Jane Kidd, email correspondence with author, May 22, 2003.
Stone-Miller, 143-44, Plate 47.
Ibid., 104-05, Plates 23a, b.
Michel Pastoureau, The Devil's Cloth:A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric, trans. Jody Gladding (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 19.
Nasreen Askari and Liz Arthur, Uncut Cloth: Saris, Shawls and Sashes (London: Merell Holberton, 1999), 21.
Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," in Illuminations:Essays and Reflections, ed. Hannah Arendt; trans Harry Zohn (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1968; Schocken Books,1969), 223.
Ibid., 217, quoting Paul Valéry, "The Conquest of Ubiquity," in Aesthetics, trans Ralph Manheim (New York, Pantheon Books, 1964).
Raymond Williams, "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory," in Rethinking Popular Culture: Contemporary Perspectives in Cultural Studies, eds. Chandra Mukerji and Michael Schudson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 418.
Currently not available.
Jane Kidd has been faithfully exploring symbolic narrative through the traditional processes of woven tapestry for 20+ years. Although trained in modernist aesthetics, the prime motivation for Kidd’s art making is in the linking of non-western art traditions to the history of those textiles functioning as ceremonial objects. Within her highly patterned, illusive spaces, Kidd strives to construct a lyrical and layered visual discourse that is charged with a personal and social meaning. For her exhibition at Stride, she is proposing to show 12 pieces from her Handwork Series that contain images derived from anatomical and gestural drawing of the human hand and forearm juxtaposed with images derived from traditional or historic textiles.