Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pattern: The Expressive Potential of Textiles

When the word "pattern" is heard it is often associated with the patterns we see printed on textiles. While this is certainly a form of pattern the term can also refer, more broadly, to irregular or more organic repetitions of form. If a sheet is thrown over a chair a series of triangular shapes will appear radiating out from the top of the chair downward creating an irregular pattern on the surface of the fabric. Where it is bunched up there is a pattern or texture that is visually course or rough. Where it is pulled taught it creates a smooth pattern or texture. In this sense pattern or texture exists in everything in the natural world and therefore in every form of art. The question is how does one put it best to use? How to employ pattern to further express your vision? The four images below demonstrate the various ways that artists have exploited the rhythm and graphic impact of textiles in photography, painting and sculpture to heighten the dramatic or psychological tenor of a work. Additionally, for this particular example, I thought it would be interesting to not only compare the use of textiles but also the use of the female figure as a subject over the years.

Seydou Keïta, 20th Century

Hans Holbein, Dorothea Meyer, 16th Century

Niccolo Dell’Arca, Lamentation, 15th Century

Greek, Nike, 5th Century BCE

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