Material Matters: Contemporary ‘Women’s Work’
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This exegesis situates and explores my contemporary art practice that aims to address global ecological and social issues through the mediums of ‘women’s work’ and digital technologies. As used here, ‘women’s work’ refers to all needlework techniques and myriad other textile techniques (m)aligned with females, including but not limited to, embroidery, knitting, crochet, and binding. At the heart of the project is a sustained exploration of these mediums’ inherent materiality beyond their obvious aesthetic attributes. This is inextricably entwined with the processes of ‘women’s work’, the device of metaphor, and the body as both tool and subject. The exegesis examines the position of textiles, particularly embroidery, in a contemporary context. It reflects on the process, meanings and potential strength contained in the textile traditions and processes that are used in this project, being aware of textile tropes and the potential for making meaning through their disruption. By merging the history, materiality and sensuality of textiles with the advances of digital technology, this research and its creative outputs offer a much richer language for self-expression and contemplation. Notions of impermanence, contingency and the fragility of our natural environment are validly addressed by using mediums that are similarly framed. Thus, metaphors of interconnecting threads—weaving, embroidery, knitting, binding—are applied across the studio practice. Digital mediums function as lines of communication, which are woven together like threads to connect the subject and viewers. The research determines that representation and engagement can be influenced profoundly through synergy with the embedded materiality of the chosen mediums.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Queensland College of Art
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Metaphors in threads