Not a straight line by a spiral: charting continuity and change in textiles informed by feminism

Kokoli, Alexandra M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3730-8570 (2014) Not a straight line by a spiral: charting continuity and change in textiles informed by feminism. Image and Text, 23 . pp. 110-129. ISSN 1020 1497

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Abstract

In response to Rozsika Parker’s (2010:xi-xxii) preoccupation with charting continuity
and change in both the gendered meanings of craft and the work of women artists
employing craft techniques and materials, in this article, I reflect on my experience
of curating a retrospective exhibition of crochet and mixed media works by Su
Richardson, a participant in the collaborative mail art (1975-1977) and installation
project Feministo (various venues, including the ICA, 1977). Superficially,
Richardson’s domestic iconography has grown in mainstream popularity, as has
the use of craft, yet the political, aesthetic and historical specificity of her oeuvre
should not be misrecognised: these self-reflectively home-made objects stir the
unconscious of domesticity, femininity and their mutual implication from decidedly
feminist perspectives. Following Parker (2010:xxi), I argue that threads of influence
and dialogue in textiles informed by feminism are often oblique, broken and
unexpectedly tangled. If Richardson’s retrospective aimed to forge links not only
between past and contemporary feminisms but also with current DIY aesthetics
and countercultural practices, contemporary artists working with textiles mine
a wealth of cultural and artistic references, suggesting complex and transgressive
webs of kinship. Bronwyn Platten’s quilted homage to Mike Kelley, For more and
more love hours (R.I.P. Mike Kelley 1954-2012) (1973-2013), is an example of a
work in which such cultural and artistic references are brought to the fore. In it,
Platten questions Faith Wilding’s dismissal of his work as an abject reification
of ‘bad boy masculinity’ (Wilding 2000:94), to propose feminist and gender-critical
alliances across genders and generations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Rozsika Parker; Susan Richardson; Bronwyn Platten; Mike Kelley; feminist craft; mourning
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > CREATE/Feminisms cluster
Item ID: 16191
Notes on copyright: [N/A; the journal is open access.] Access to full text restricted pending copyright check.
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Dr Alexandra Kokoli
Date Deposited: 21 May 2015 10:01
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 13:24
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/16191

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