I have recently acquired a splendid large book: the catalogue of an exhibition of Louise Bourgeois fabric works. I have written about this in my blog, but one aspect of the work interested me in particular – Bourgeois’ fabric drawings.
The images above are from a selection on the Hauser + Wirth site where the exhibition is on currently. Another drawing can be seen here. I am also intrigued by her collections of fabric drawings which she has made into books. Here and here give an idea of what their pages look like.
I find all of these pieces engaging and attractive on first view, and then despite their apparent simplicity – maybe because of their deceptive simplicity, I am intrigued to gaze on them longer. I think that it’s a question of the compositions, the balance and choice of colours, the intensity of them which detain me. And I certainly admire the quality of the craftsmanship. That is not to say that I am in awe of Bourgeois’ craftsmanship, her wielding of a needle. It is her idea that the craftsmanship is an important element which intrigues me.
Here is an artist drawing attention to craftmanship. Of course fibre craft is vital to the concept of so much of Bourgeois’ work in whatever medium given her tapestry mending origins. But it struck me that Bourgeois validates so many of us who have the urge to express ourselves artistically, and who choose fibre craft as our medium.
As we see here in the fabric drawings, the effect can be powerful, arresting; work that is paired away and direct. I find the oeuvre of Louise Bourgeois such a vital encouragement and endorsement of what I am trying to do, and these fabric drawings in particular reassure me that I should continue to try to simplify, to distil.