Sunday, 26 July 2015

S T O R I E S   i n   T E X T I L E
 by Divya Agrawal

Intense, evocative, symbolic are a few expressions that aptly describe the work of the textile artists we are featuring today : Maria Eugenia Davila & Eduardo Portillo, and, Anne Woringer.

 Some textiles are story tellers. They carry stories of the hands that made them, of cultures and places. 

Historically, all the great civilizations have had rich textile traditions. Cotton, linen, wool and varieties created using papyrus, reed etc go far back to the ancient period.  Indigo dyeing, Batik, Block print and other surface techniques have added a rich palette of color and pattern to plain fabric since long. 

In the contemporary world, textiles have been the base of experimentation for many artists. Our featured artists have pushed boundaries and created artworks on textiles that can be, at the least, be called stunning.


Maria Eugenia Davila & Eduardo Portillo's textile art interprets their interest in people, cultures and environment. Merged with their interest in materials and processes, the duo express their experiences through weaves. 

The duo  live and work in Mérida, in the Venezuelan Andes. With titles like "the afternoon sun" and "dawn", these woven masterpieces transport one to the horizon, to be immersed in the beauty of a blazing summer afternoon or embrace the dark with a fading sky. 

A closer look at their work (below) reveals plant fiber interwoven with silk/ cotton. Indigo dyed yarn contrasts beautifully with gold. Note the different shades of blue that the duo have achieved in Indigo dye giving them a much wider palette of color to work with. 

"....We also work with local materials, such as cotton and alpaca from Peru and Bolivia, fiber from the moriche and chiqui-chique palm trees of the Orinoco River Delta and Amazon region, as well as dyes from the indigo plant. For us color is crucial. Our interest in color starts at its very foundations: how it is obtained, where it is found in nature, in objects, in people..."Maria Eugenia Davila & Eduardo Portillo

Images : Left: 'En la Noche'   , Right : 'Nubes'/Clouds, Bottom: Detail from 'Nocturno'

Their passion for their art has taken Maria & Eduardo to China to study sericulture when they decided to work with silk; to India and the Amazon, to discover Indigo. In Venezuela, they now cultivate their own silk and Indigo plants. What an interesting approach to Art, right from sourcing to weaving! And, a pioneering one - working with plant fibers and metal to give another dimension to fabric.

Anne Woringer also tells stories through her patchworks and embroideries. Some of her work is reminiscent of architectural maps - a medley of labyrinths and organic forms.

An amazing aspect of her art is Anne's ability to visualize complex end forms and work piece by piece towards creating them using fairly challenging techniques, like in the patchwork pieces below.  

These works simply reinforce my belief that the human mind is naturally gifted to push its boundaries, to explore further than what has already been...and that Art is a celebration of life!

All images: Courtesy the featured Artists

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