Continuum of Dialogue

Elizabeth Robb's textile sculptures

I work sculpturally to capture a moment in time using active processes that become meditations: dyeing, weaving, wrapping, compressing, structuring, ordering, and releasing. The repetition of these acts fosters a connection between the subconscious mind and the body, and these full body rhythmic movements allow my stream of consciousness to expand on certain conceptual ideas and develop more thoughtful conclusions. 

My work is on the continuum of dialogue between the grid and its manifestations as form, content, and medium through threads, weaving, and painting.  I utilize the power of the materials to construct architectural frames from which to build weighted objects in space.  Localized patterns of organization translate unique spatial and physical relationships between the viewer and the sculptures.  Parts of a sculpture can be compact and highly detailed, whereas others are unraveled and cascade onto the floor. Many can be installed in multiple configurations, hung from the wall or ceiling, allowing for multiple vantage points for the viewer to engage with two or three structural planes. Using Icelandic wool, reeds, and linen yarns as foundations, I have created works that activate and inhibit space implementing iron, paint, and embroidery onto the woven structure.  I approach my work in fibers with a sense of physical and emotional expression through structure. Utilizing the grid, I create works that bounce between the static and fluid. The woven works explo­­­re fibers’ endless potential for composition, color, line, form and shape through the structure of the grid.  

The grid, as a form and medium, has allowed me to push physical and mental boundaries communicated through threads and materials.  Using structure as a vehicle for emotional and physical expression, I utilize the loom and my hands as tools of exploration to disrupt the static grid, making it more fluid.  The repetition and meditative properties of weaving foster a connection between the subconscious mind and the body.  I associate weaving as a full body process, requiring the use of both hands and devoted concentration; from miniature weavings to large-scale tapestries, the weavings created during my residency all display the “hand” in the process.  This can especially be seen in the Emergency series, where I repeatedly painted, deconstructed, and wove emergency blankets found at the N1 in Iceland.  After the emergency blanket was woven onto the Icelandic wool warp, I added acrylic paint and deconstructed the face of the weaving, treating it as a completely different surface than the other large-scale weavings.  I respond to the inherent energy of the materials and how they interact to inform my decisions, balancing the tension between control and the relinquishment of control through the process. 

The potential for scale in my small works has led me to create several large-scale weavings and intricately wrapped and draped sculptures. The beauty of the undyed greyscale of Icelandic materials highlight the texture and dimensionality of a pebbled knot or stitch and transform a canvassed piece at large.  The visceral experience of the work conveys a message of beauty and form that exemplifies my interpretation of the grid.  

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