Compromise or just making decisions?

One of the challenges I face repeatedly through my PhD studies is to locate my practice in a wider context.  I am craft-trained and have no first degree in fine art and therefore feel a dilettante in the art studio and constantly excuse my presence there. Although my practice frequently involves the making of object, it is not craft in a conventional sense. I deliberately and resolutely choose to label my work textiles, despite the exclusion that this often brings.  I made the decision during my MA that if I did not regard textiles as worthy of bearing the label ‘art’, how could I expect anyone else to? If there was a vanguard in contemporary textile art, I wanted to be part of it. This decision gives me various problems.  My work is often not an obvious fit into textile exhibitions as the development of technique is not a primary objective. Art exhibitions usually have thematic aims and I am forced to ask myself, should I compromise the specific questions of my research, embodied in my practice, to fit a designated theme? Alternatively, should I develop work for an exhibition that would detract me from my research?  As time is a limited resource, I have opted to concentrate on my research. Opportunities to develop other work can be investigated when the PhD is done.  In short there is always a compromise to be made.* The issue of compromise/decision making and the curating of works that, whilst thematically linked are visually very different, was raised again by my visit to Cloth and Memory {2}. My response to this question in relation to the exhibition will follow in a later post.

Cate Hursthouse -  Unhomely Furnishings – Side Table (2010) Hemmed In, Milton Keynes Gallery, December 2012

Cate Hursthouse – Unhomely Furnishings – Side Table (2010)
Hemmed In, Milton Keynes Gallery, December 2012

* I was fortunate enough to have a piece accepted for the exhibition Hemmed In at Milton Keynes Gallery last December. This exhibition, in my opinion however, took an unusually broad and inclusive view of textiles. http://www.mkgallery.org/exhibitions/hemmed_in/

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