Calgary, Alberta, Canada
A language of resistance and co-optation
"Several contemporary artists maintain the critical feminist agenda of the 1970s. They refuse to buy into the present neoconservative backlash against the social advances that were made by that previous generation of artists. As support for this project of refusal, these artists have access to a cornucopia of feminist and postmodernist practises and theories that have been accumulating since the 1970's, when women in the visual arts challenged the art world's modernist canon. The cornucopia is concerned with representation and signification.
By introducing analyses of the social practices of production and consumption into art, feminist and other postmodernist practises inflicted the coup de gråce to the Greenbergian tenets of truth to the material and the universality of art reception (like no iron polyester, these tenets guaranteed the self sufficiency of visual and aesthetic experience). Predictably, provocatively, the antipathy between feminism and modernism suggested a paradigmatic shift. Many of those who advocated the shift were linked by a common set of methodological positions: validation of collaborative attitudes over individualistic ones, careful attention to audience response, use of personal lives and daily activities as sites of political struggle, reappropriation of the body and the redefinition power. Many artists and cultural critics began to work together toward a creative revision of the status quo.
At some moment during the challenge to modernism, several artists realized that textile practices are rich sites to explore and question the assumptions made about subjects like women's work, femininity and domesticity. The oppressive constraints of the textile tradition were recognized and new ways of negotiating meanings through textiles were sought."
Common Threads: Local Strategies for "Inappropriated " Artists
The Art and Culture of Contemporary Textiles
edited by Ingrid Bachmann and Ruth Scheuing
copyright 1998 by YYZ Books