Last week, my friend Joe Sano from the Capuchin Food Pantries in New York City sent me a fantastic gift, a book by an artist, who admittedly i had never heard of….Chris Roberts-Antieau. Chris is known for her “fabric paintings” and her new book is titled “Sew Far” and it's absolutely beautiful! It's a boxed set with a wonderfully crafted book and it comes with one of her pieces of artwork in a small frame. I was so impressed with the packaging and the attention to detail. The simplicity of the way she conveys ideas with her tapestry collages is terrific. And the inclusion of an actual piece of tapestry and string (the materials she relies on most) was a great touch.
Joe thought i would be able to relate to Chris's work and he was right. I also related to the problem she has conveying the true sense of her work in book form…or flat image form….tapestries and fabrics have powerful colors and patterns and that's crucial to the message the artist working with them is trying to convey. The problem is that when you photograph the works and reproduce them in 4-color process (like in a book or on a computer screen), you lose that texture and color….it just loses something. I have the same problem with my 3-D works. People tell me all the time that you just can't really “SEE” my work on a website or in a book. You have to see it live to really appreciate it. Chris's artwork is the same. You should really try to see it live. It's really beautiful.
Chris's style reminds me a lot of one of my mentors at the School of Visual Arts, Susan Coe. She encouraged me and was one of my inspirations during my early career in art.
Here's the first line from Chris's website biography and I love this too! Chris Roberts-Antieau begain her career by walking out of an art class. On her very first day in art school, the instructor had given the class an assignment to draw an ink bottle. The other students drew literal, realistic sketches. Chris drew a blocky, childlike bottle that took up the whole page. The professor singled it out for mockery in front of the whole class, asking her “Who told you you could draw?” Chris walked out and never looked back.
I say, “Good For Her!” – I had my share of teachers who told me i should consider another line of work Another lesson learned. Listen to your heart and draw what you feel….then you can't lose. Thanks, Chris!
ps. I'm off to Japan for a week of shows. I'll report on those when I return. Sionara for now!