Thursday, 22 September 2011

Module 2:2 Debbie Smyth

The third artist I have collected images from is Debbie Smyth. In complete contrast from the two illustrators whose work I have shared in the previous two posts Debbie is much younger, female and works with pins and thread.

She has kindly given me permission to show photographs of her work here and I hope that you find it as interesting and inspirational as I do. I absolutely love the fact that it is such a simple idea and yet becomes so intricate and so impressive.

Debbie often works on a really large scale which must be incredibly impressive if viewed in real life. Sadly I have not seen any of her installations yet but I hope to do so as soon as the opportunity arises.

I am not entirely sure why but the three installations above make me feel quite melancholy and that is in a way a compliment to Debbie rather than a criticism. The building and pylons have an almost abandoned feel with their cobweb like threads hanging forlornly down. I'm drawn to the juxtaposition of the core strength of the buildings and structures and the seemingly wilting facades.

In these pieces the shopping trolley and the chair they are beautifully drawn with the thread and pins and then the loose threads cause a delicious extra dimension and texture that would be irreverent and pointless if these objects had been drawn in pencil.

The threads create a feeling of movement and make these seemingly innocuous, utilitarian objects immensely watchable.

I really love the polar bear shape and like how even though there is the chaos of the threads you can still see the birds legs clearly defined.

The images created of the cars is superb, again they have an air of atrophy and wear and tear and feel slightly abandoned but in contrast the shape is wonderfully defined with the lively spikes of the pins adding a sort of fine hair on a usually sleek, metal object.

Scenes taken from the Threadbare exhibition that took place in Manchester. The people are so beautifully defined with their extra thick black mass of threads following them around like a hairy aura. The medium of pins and thread lends itself wonderfully to the linear shapes of the buildings and steps and railings. These are so marvellously illustrated it is hard to image that it is the humble pin and black cotton holding it all together. This is truly inspiring work and made me want to try and create something along these lines too which I will reveal in the next blog post. It was not terribly successful and if I attempt it again, which I would very much like to, then I would research much more into getting the groundwork perfected such as what to put the pins into! If they wobble about the whole project becomes unhinged and the thread cannot stay taught which is vital for a definite shape.

It is also incredibly time consuming, Debbie must have the patience of a saint. It must be incredibly satisfying to see it all taking shape though.

The final two pieces are my favourite, with the girl on the swing being my favourite of all. The movement is palpable in this piece, you can almost reach out and push the swing away. There is no doubt that Debbie is extremely individual and talented in this field and I will be keenly looking forward as to where she takes her thread and pins next.

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