Thursday, May 10, 2012

The evolution of "Faith" - my empty spaces piece

Gloria Hansen here. In thinking about "empty spaces," my mind was jumping to many interpretations,  and I quickly realized it's a theme that we all can explore for a very long time. To quiet my jumping thoughts, I decided to keep it simple, keep it simple, keep it simple, and see what flows.  This is how my piece empty spaces piece evolved:

 I started with an empty box and added a red square.  Working digitally, I created a line of progressively larger dots. I envisioned french knots, with the larger knots having an extra wrap of thread.
In this version, I added lines of digital stitches.  Another way to think of it is a line with "empty spaces."

I added black to further break up the empty space, and added more lines of vertical digital stitches.

I turned off the digital layer with the stitches and started to experiment with the shape of the black rectangle.

I added perspective and then experimented again with digital stitches.
Still clueless as to what would evolve, those shapes immediately reminded me of a show I saw in London at the Museum of Design. There was an exhibit by John Pawson, an architect who is described as a "minimalist" and is known for his process of reduction and for creating designs of "simplicity, grace, and visual clarity." The image above on the left was central to the exhibit, a "site-specific 1:1 full-size installation." I'm standing within the room in the image on the right.  I and my business partner, Derry, who took me to the exhibit, spent a lot of time sitting on the bench and absorbing the incredible peaceful feel of the space. Although we were sitting in the middle of a busy museum, it felt more like we were sitting within a zen garden.

Also of interest, on the other side of the back wall are people looking at a different piece in the exhibit.  While anyone within the room could see those behind the room, those outside could not see in. More food for contemplation.

As I thought more about that exhibit, I started going through folders of photographs I'd taken around that time period. In the process, I started pulling out copies of ones I might want to work with. After weeding them down, I decided on two below to form the basis of my piece -- an open road that I took from the front passenger seat while traveling out west and a photo of a window from a decaying building in England.

I selected more photos with things that can move through space -- a bird, a sheep, a train, a flying machine, and I selected an escalator and a statute. The escalator was taken inside a science museum, and I loved the neon colors reflected on it. Two photos that comes up a lot in my personal work are a replica of daVinci's flying machine that was on display at the V&A Museum and a Paris-bound train with daVinci artwork on it (although I've added to the image above). The flying machine is in two pieces I've made: The Journey and Another Journey, and the train image is in a piece not on my website yet.

I opened all of the images in Photoshop and began working with them. Night after night, more nights after night, I worked on the design. Version after version, layer after layer.

This is one of the versions I came up with.

As you can see, the above has a lot of layers, groups, and groups within groups of layers going on. My next goal was turning off layers to see what I could remove. 

While experimenting with various versions, I added a black/white adjustment layer to remove color altogether. By dragging the color sliders, I experimented with the tonality of the image. Using a black/white adjustment layer is a better option than simply desaturating an image as you can control the value of the lightness and darkness of each color within your image. 

Because the size requirement is based on 8, I experimented with different scales on the elements within the design. 

While I like this, it seemed to also need some type of framework.

The above is the final piece called "Faith" which is left for you to interpret however you wish.  While the image is bordered in gray, I suspect there will be no binding or border on it, but rather a facing.  My intent is to print it on silk and hand stitch it.  Because I have several versions of it, in color and without, I also hope that it is the first in a series.

I often find the path to a new work is an interesting one, and I hope you've enjoyed the thinking behind this piece.


Jamie Fingal said...

I love seeing your creative process, Gloria. A little glimpse into how your imagination works. The imagery is really quite wonderful. You do amazing work!

Sue Bleiweiss said...

what a fascinating peek inside your creative process Gloria. These images are all quite intriguing.

Judy Warner said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is quite enlightening.

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Absolutely LOVE wandering through this process and evolution with you!

Leslie Tucker Jenison said...

A beautiful piece, and I enjoy seeing how it evolved. Thanks for sharing!