There is something fabulous about working with long strands of fibre to create a painting. Though hands guide the general direction of the string, in the last moment before it settles on to the surface it twists and curls with its own agenda. In the past I have described this process as a dance where hand and string take turns manipulating one another. To me, not only is working with string more intimate than working with many other materials, it also feels more reciprocal.
Just as tangles and messiness bring form and visual interest to these portraits, it is often the ability to be vulnerable and admit to the messiness of life that brings meaning and strength into human relationships. As fundamentally social beings, our relationships are integral to our identity. Much like the subjects themselves, and the artist who conveys them, these portraits are created through a relational process.
The Imaginal Dialogues Series:
In May 2020, The Imaginal Dialogues series was exhibited as a COVID-safe virtual gallery & interdisciplinary show entitled “Stringlism” (after Elliott’s method of layering & glazing crochet thread to form imagery). Stringlism included an interactive 3D gallery experience as well as a series of live-streamed events (Including: an Opening Reception art tour, Artist talk & a yoga practice inspired by the series by Chantelle McNichol of Sweet Kula Yoga). Artwork from the series was also integrated into a series of guest dance performances by the Rhythm Fx Collective and Edmonton Dance Theatre.
Press on Stringlism:
Videos-on-demand of select Stringlism events can be found on Maren Kathleen Elliott’s Youtube Channel
To read Maren’s blog posts that relate to the Imaginal Dialogues project, you can check out project category here.