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 the previous generation of artists. As support for this project of refusal, these artists have access to a cornucopia of feminist and postmodernist practices and theories that have been accumulating since the 1970s, when women in the visual arts challenged the art world's modernist cannon. 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 practices 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 of 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 traditions 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 Textile
edited by Ingrid Bachmann and Ruth Scheuing
copyright 1998 by YYZBOOKS
" It is important to point out that most of the elderly women, who had been involved in Current Connection from the first group meeting in Murdock Manor, were present the night of the opening at the Deanne House. Like their performative presence on the Elbow River, their presence at the opening was more than a celebration: the exchange of stories continued.
The women involved in Current Connection (1&2) transformed cliched notions of women gossiping while they crochet. They successfully let people know that their collective effort was necessary and worthwhile in the rewriting of women's history. More modest in scale, Current Connection (1&2) is reminiscent of the spirit of Suzanne Lacy's Crystal Quilt project. In both projects, the artists paid careful attention to the process of empowering older women, to the politics of rendering them visible social subjects and to the intense negotiations with local as well as historical authorities. These are elements of a discursive strategy that allows rich critical meaning to emerge from the lives of older women. For Joan Caplan and Mary Lou Riordon-Sello, the empowerment of local women is the warp of everyday life. Those who take time to understand the meanings that emerge from Current Connection (1 & 2) empower themselves, too, providing the weft that is needed to complete this regional social fabric"
Common Threads: Local Strategies for "Inappropriated " Artists
The Art and Culture of Contemporary Textiles
Edited by Ingrid Bachmann and Ruth Scheuing
copyright 1998 YYZBOOKS