The opening date is approaching for Curious an exhibition by Jane Kidd. Inspired by ‘Cabinets of Curiosity’ and Natural history museums, this work explores the relationships/contradictions between art and science, imagination and knowledge, decoration and display. Kidd experiments with varying weaving techniques used for graphic images and displays tapestries as museum specimens. In the lead up to to this exhibition we asked Kidd some questions to find out more about her art practice and inspirations.
Tell us about your journey as an artist?
For the majority of my art-making career I have chosen to work with the process of woven tapestry. I am compelled by the history of tapestry as an enduring link to human culture and find that the multi-cultural and ritually charged tradition of this narrative textile provides an appropriate vehicle to express both my aesthetic and conceptual concerns. I am drawn to tapestry because it is an inherently sensuous medium; it has a strong physical presence and a unique material identity. The sensuous nature of tapestry also allows me to indulge my inclination towards intricate detail, rich colour and sensuous surfaces. The slow labour intensive process of making a tapestry exudes a kind of physicality and sensuousness. As the maker of a tapestry I am intimately involved with every aspect of production. The yarns are handled, pushed, beaten, stoked into place and images grow out of intense colour and ever present surface texture. I believe that the investment of intimate involvement, time and skill heightens the conceptual associations in my work and provides a counterpoint to the immediacy and temporal nature of contemporary culture. My choice to express ideas through the tapestry medium has never faltered. Working in my Salt Spring Island studio I remain fully engaged by the potential of tapestry and continue to see the tapestry medium as a viable means to explore ideas that reference my experience of the world.
What first made you want to become an artist?
My career as an artist began in the 1970’s influenced by international artists like Magdalena Abakanowicz, Sheila Hicks, the Jacobi’s and the heady innovation the Fibre Revolution movement. I studied Fine Art at the Vancouver School of Art and later at the University of Victoria, but my real interest in textiles as an artistic medium was fostered while participating in dynamic workshops at the now closed Handcraft House Textile School and Gallery in North Vancouver. I was also inspired and encouraged by seminal West Coast artists like Vancouver based Joanna Staniszkis and Victoria’s Carole Sabiston. My first solo exhibition was in 1975 at Mido Gallery on Main Street in Vancouver. In 1980 I moved to Calgary to take a full time teaching position at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Within the challenging Art College environment I refined my conceptual ideas and sharpened my understanding of contemporary art and craft.
What emotional response do people have when they view your work or hold it in their hands?
Although initiated through my own concerns and experiences, the intrinsic value and spirit of my work emerges as the viewer attaches individual perceptions to the combinations of interconnected symbols, motifs, and images that interact on the tapestry surface. Ultimately, I hope that my tapestries will be seen as objects of expressive and sensual beauty that celebrate the handmade and encourage reflection on the world we live in.
What do you do when you are not creating?
Throughout my career I have been interested in historic and multi-cultural textile production and the symbolic language of pattern and motifs and have traveled extensively to pursue these interests.
Curious the exhibition by Jane Kidd runs from Thursday, May 14, 2015 – Thursday June 25, 2015. The Opening Reception is Thursday May 14th, 7 – 9pm at 1386 Cartwright Street, Granville Island. Hear the Artist Talk that same night from 6pm – 7pm across the street at Carousel Theater 1411 Cartwright Street, Granville Island.
You can view Kidd’s website here. We look forward to seeing you at the Opening Reception and Artist talk!