Gen Residency Guest Blog: Rosie Dolton
Interview with the Artist
How would you describe your art?
I’m primarily a textiles based artist but I used them in a different way. I use subjects or materials that aren’t usually identified with textiles. I want to explore the attitude towards women in the media and how women’s bodies are depicted in the media too. I want to use textiles to explore that because it gives women a voice.
Did you always want to be an artist?
I only got into textiles at Uni. I was specialising in sculpture, doing things with recycled materials, wood and knocking together different materials. I started doing things with wood and textiles and I liked how the contrast worked, the soft textiles against the hard wood. Almost like contrast between masculine and feminine materials.
I want to do something about how women are portrayed in the media but I don’t want to be to tunnelled and I want to get the inspiration from Venice. I want to make an embroidery of some sort but I also want to experiment.
How do you take inspiration from the city?
I have to write stuff down, I do little sketches and take photographs, I’ve seen a lot of small graffiti of messages that people have written everywhere and really liked that idea and I want to translate them and maybe do something with that.
I like the whole getting lost idea and I love stumbling across stuff. Today, for example, I went to the Guggenheim and on the way back I found a lot of little contemporary galleries that you probably wouldn’t find on the internet so I’m definitely going back to visit them!
How do you think a Residency like this helps artists?
It involves the public with art and people get to meet the artists. It also great for us because it gives us the chance to focus. You are here do your work and get inspiration from the country and other people you wouldn’t normally meet.
Post: Monday 17/02
I have always been interested in making sculptures and installations using ‘craft based’ processes such as embroidery. My work often involves using found objects, such as pallets, and sewing into them. I am currently working on a series of ‘Inappropriate embroideries’ which explores the juxtaposition between using embroidery combined with imagery from the media that is supposed to attract the male gaze.
The first week of my residency has flown by! I have really found that Venice and the generator hostel has been a real inspiration to my practice. I have managed to visit some galleries including the Peggy Guggenheim and, my favourite so far, the Muse Di Pallazzo Mongenigo which was showing an exhibition of contemporary textiles. It was good to see an exhibition portraying textiles as as a valid art form rather than merely craft. (Below are some images from the galleries I have visited so far)
This first week in the studio has mainly been about experimenting with different materials and processes. I have found that having a studio space has been valuable for developing my practice. I came to Venice without any fixed ideas of what I want to produce for my final piece so that could draw on the inspiration of my beautiful surroundings. However to keep my work focused I had a main theme in mind ‘How women are portrayed in the media’ and had several small ideas which I could develop during my stay. I began by simply wandering around Venice, taking photographs and sketching. I then worked directly from these sketches and photos to produce some embroidery.
I also visited the island of Burano which is famous for its lace. I was inspired to produce works using some lace I had brought with me. I collaged, embroidered and printed with it. I found that printing with the lace onto paper and fabric produced an interesting result so I started making stencils using sexulised imagery of women. I found that the juxtoposition of the dlicate lbeutiful lasce and the media’s portrayal of overtly sexualised images of women really worked well and I wanted to further develop it possibly for my final piece. (see below)
I have also used my time here to develop my ongoing series of work ‘Inappropriate Embroidery’. In the studio I began experimenting with using pornographic imagery to produce embroideries, turning them into works of art and also giving the subjects a voice by using a material that is most commonly associated with femininity. (See below)
Staying the hostel has also inspired my work. Whilst eating my meals in the lounge I found myself automatically drawn to watching and listening to the videos and music played on the screens around the room. As the same songs are usually repeated I found myself listening to the lyrics more closely and I realised that some of the lyrics and imagery used in the music videos are actually very sexualised and if shown out of context or written down would be extremely offensive and bordering on pornographic. However because they are music videos psychologically we believe they are perfectly acceptable to be played in public. I began to write down the lyrics of the some of the songs that are currently the top 40 charts in the UK. I picked out in particular the derogatory lines about women. I was shocked to read some of the lyrics which are often hidden within the songs and are hard to distinguish. I have begun to produce work about these songs and music videos which I will further develop next week. (See below)
‘Nothin’ like your last guy, he too square for you,
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that.’
(Robin Thicke/’Blurred Lines’)
After experimenting in the studio for a week I have decided what I want to leave behind as my permanent piece of work. I would like to use methods that I have been working on to produce four cushions, one for each of the rooms Generator has provided for the artists. Each cushion will be a different colour and have a piece of my work on the cover. I believe in the importance of really thinking about how art is displayed and I didn’t just want to frame my work and put it on the wall. I believe that in this way I am contributing to the hostel and at the same time using my experience of staying here as an part of the work. I like to think that guests will be able to touch my art and use it in a practical way.