VICTORIA Z. RIVERS:
Professor in Textile Arts,
Design Program
One Shields Avenue
University of California
Davis, California 95616   USA

 

Exhibitions Publications Curatorial Activities / Lectures papers & Workshops Selected citations in publications Artist's Statement

 

Artist's statement

 

Recent work: 2003-2004

My art combines time-honored textile techniques including traditional resist and dye processes combined with new materials like laser holographic films and powders resulting from recent technologies. By building surfaces utilizing low-tech methods that reflect the mark of the hand and fusing them with synthetic and highly reflective materials, I find beauty in the contrast of rawness and refinement.

I am inspired by historical, global and contemporary textile arts - ceremonial dress, special hangings for rituals and ceremonies, trade cloths, singular artistic visions encapsulating hopes and aspirations or time-honored traditions. Textiles reflect human endeavor and artistic achievement throughout time. All our lives we are bound in fabrics, yet seldom do we contemplate how ubiquitous they are. Everyday we literally and symbolically wear our sense of ourselves on our sleeves.

My works are multi-layered with materials and meanings. On a direct level they are about the act of making textiles. On another the pieces use the language and materials of textiles to tell stories of personal experience, to reflect on memories and encode allusions to textile history and social anthropology.

My studio practice is informed by scholarly inquiry on endangered and disappearing textile traditions of Asia. As an internationally published author, I find a synergy between researching and creating, as one enriches and informs the other.

A deep vein I am exploring deals with the visualization of sensory crossovers and electro-magnetic impulses "seen" without the eyes. ("It Was Like This", "Synesthesia", "Lucid Awakening" series). Another theme is focused on the historic uses and meanings of rags and fragments ("Restitution", "Uzbek" series and "Timeline"), particularly those from Asian and Islamic people, where even the tiniest scrap of a once valuable textile was accorded an almost sacred nature.

Textile scraps were used as ritual markers, wish granting devices, or prophylatically to confuse malevolent spirits. By incorporating historic textile fragments with my dyed, painted surfaces, not only do I call upon the accidental beauty of these fragments, but I attempt to pay restitution to their faded but poignant histories by making them whole again. By recycling and restoring "fallen" textiles to a level of respect and transforming them into objects of art, my work juxtaposes past and present. The metaphor is further highlighted by understanding the geo-political dynamics that brought about the emergence of these once valued textiles from family treasure rooms and into the global marketplaces.

Artist's statement

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