I’ve been thinking a lot about the place of art quilting within the larger fine art and fine craft worlds. Some really good points were brought up in comments June, Jaret and others made in response to other posts. I see myself as an artist who happens to work in the medium of quilt as a means of expression. I see baggage attached to the label of the medium and I also see potential in and beyond this label.
Using the word “quilt” raises an expectation in the viewer and I feel it holds a perceived limitation. “Quilt” carries with it an implied function – bedcovering, blanket, etc. “Quilt” also carries an implication of form – three layers, two dimensional, textural surface, double sided. As part of a previous discussion about the choice of “quilt” as medium, we asked what can “quilt” do that other media can’t? Are we exploiting that enough? If we do exploit it, are we challenging the viewer’s expectations? In another medium, there are artists working in embroidery, for example, who have so broken away from the perceived limitations of their medium that it is nearly unrecognizeable. Janet Edmonds immediately comes to mind.
I would love examples of artists pushing quilt this far.
How do artists in other media break away from the perceived limitations of both the form and function of their media? Is it necessary to break away to be taken seriously as artists?
If as an artist your chosen medium is ceramics do you need to stay away from vessels or teapot forms to be taken seriously? Is there a way to embrace a stereotypical form in your medium of choice while challenging your viewer? If you keep the form but negate the function (and vice versa) is this enough? Are we doing this as artists working in quilt?
I don’t think that artists working in the traditional fine art media of oils, metal, acrylic, watercolor etc have the same factors to take into consideration. While an oil painter may chose to create work outside the structure of canvas stretched on wood, the form and the function of an oil painting isn’t ever going to be an issue for him/her.
What do you think?