Janet Wilson TAAT Art Residency -15 Nov - 9 Dec 2017

Posted: 21 Nov 2017

Assemblage is proud to announce the successful projects and exhibitions who have been awarded the opportunity to exhibit in partnership with the organisation at its project space. This initiative is made possible under the auspices of The African Arts Trust grant funding towards the materialization of projects/exhibitions at Assemblage’s project space for the last quarter of 2017 and first half of the 2018 calendar year.

Introducing Janet  Wilson, a former in studio artist from Assemblage.
Wilson has been awarded a 4 week residency which commences from 15 November - 7 December 2017. The residency is a process focused on Janet's sewing technique.

Although  trained  as  a  printmaker,  Janet’s  artistic  practice  has  expanded  to  include  working with  textiles.  As  she  says,  “I  have  been  learning  to  sew  since  I  was  a  child.  The  sewing machine  that  I  use  was  my  parents’  gift  to  me  on  my  21st  birthday.  My  mother-in-law passes  on  tips  for  better  sewing.  She  also  passed  on  her  old  heavyweight  Singer  to  me.  I keep  a  thimble  that  belonged  to  my  great-grandmother!”  Sewing  techniques  may  be  learnt  and  proficiency  can  improve  with  practice.  For  Janet, these  techniques  are  so  ingrained  that  they  inform  her  artistic  practice.  So  much  so,  that her  first  step  in  making  an  artwork  is  always  to  ask,  “Couldn’t  I  rather sew  this?” Ongoing  concerns  are  the  use  of  colour,  as  well  the  medium  and  methods  used.  An exploration  of  portraiture  in  her  Fine  Art  MA  resulted,  paradoxically,  in  a  shift  away  from representational  imagery.  This  is  evident  in  her  large  format  screen-prints,  which  comprise bold  colour  fields  in  stripes  and  squares.  Her  current  work  in  textiles  continues  this trajectory,  whilst  reflecting  on  her  relationship  to  the  city  of  Johannesburg,  the  place  in which  she  lives  and  works.

Description: The  route  that  I  drive  in  the  morning  intersects  with  that  of a  fleet  of  taxis  that  shuttles  between Hillbrow  and  the  Johannesburg  General  Hospital.  Each  taxi  is  numbered  with  a  stick-on  decal. These  stickers  are  different  from  many  others  that  I  have  seen:  they  include  also  the  hand  signal that  denotes  a  local  route.  While  the  taxis  themselves  come  in  many  different  colours,  the  decals are  most  often  yellow  with  red  writing.  The  cheery  colour  combination  and  the  sense  of  direction and  purpose  that  the  stickers  denote,  belie  the  drudge  of  a  daily  urban  commute.  I  chose  to  use these  stick-on  decals  as  the  starting  point  for  this  series  of  textile  artworks. I  have  completed  eight  initial  pieces,  roughly  50  x  50cm,  consisting  two  layers  of  fabric,  with  the number  and  circle  hand  stitched  using  a  technique  of  reverse  appliqué.  These  will  be  combined with  larger  pieces  of  fabric  to  make  up  a  work  that  measures  roughly  150  x  200  cm. 

Follow the link to find out more about the African Arts Trust: http://www.theafricanartstrust.org