Lately it has been commonplace for artists to exhibit things they have gathered, categorised, documented, counted, archived, stacked and stored - objects that they have neither made nor altered, defining art as the act of collecting rather than creating. As a material girl, Deborah Crowe offers a measure for the fabrics she has purchased, collected, rearranged and appropriated, asking us to consider how she has selected the stuff she struts: what texts on which textiles, why this snatch on that swatch.
It is yardage which goes the extra distance, and in her deft display Deborah Crowe shows herself to be a bricoleur with brio, a maximalist with maxims. Hoovering up an overheard expression here, and a spoonerism there, she patches it all together to make something considerable out of the unconsidered. We can enjoy the ride with the flotsam and jetsam on her material tide, rendered choppy by the pinking shears or paddle in the textured shoals, fishing out an adage or two as we go. This is, after all, the fabric of life, and Crowe has floated just enough ideas to suggest an ocean of possibility in textiles which is infinitely navigable.
Linda Tyler is Director of the Centre for New Zealand Art Research, The University of Auckland.
Deborah Crowe, aka Brocade Whore, (b1963, Dundee) moved to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1986 after completing a BA (Hons) in Design and Post Graduate Diploma in Embroidered and Woven Textiles at Glasgow School of Art. Crowe's work, consistently focussed on ideas of construction, has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in collections including Te Papa Tongarewa, Glasgow School of Art, The Dowse Art Museum and the James Wallace Collection. The work has received a number of awards and is featured in various publications.
Image courtesy Mark McClean.
Objectspace Public Programme: Artist floor talk Wednesday 13 April, 5:30-6:00pm
This project has received support from Manukau Institute of Technology's Research, Development and Technology Transfer Fund.