Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Postcards: Susie Brandt

Detail of Blur that Susie Brandt worked on from 1992 to 1996 
Susie Brandt is brilliant, funny, and thinks so far outside the box that she's in another galaxy. In 2004, I took a workshop with her at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and was charmed by her humour and left-of-centre thinking. This is an artist who cut out polka dots from fabric with pinking shears and then sewed them back together with free-motion embroidery. I first saw her textiles in a four-person show called Fancy at the Textile Museum of Canada in 1996, so rubbing shoulders with Susie for a weekend was a real honour.

One of the things that stayed with me from the workshop was from a slide talk that Susie gave about her work and the work of artists who inspire her. At one point, she talked about artists such as herself who use "materials at hand." She showed a slide of an artist, Paul Villinski who makes art from used work gloves that he finds on New York City streets. The image of his glove wings along with her quilts constructed from shoulder pads, Barbie doll dresses, doilies, and pantyhose have stayed with me all these years. Materials need not be precious and can be found anywhere -- from city sidewalks to your underwear drawer.

No comments: