Step by Step
'Walking shares with making and working that crucial element of engagement of the body and the mind with the world, of knowing the world through the body and the body through the world.'
(Solnit, 2002 p29)
Thinking about my core practices of walking, stitch and weave as embodied, repetitive processes, I spend time considering why these practices have become intrinsic to my investigations of the site, and what kind of 'knowing' they are facilitating. I wonder if, as the body falls into a repeated physical rhythm of activity, the brain functions shift to allow 'deep work' thinking to happen. Perhaps it's a kind of emptying out and making space for another kind of thought process.
I think about the relationship between repetition (steps, stitches, the actions of weaving) and grids (as a visual signifier for repetition) to working in this way. With reference to Rosalind Krauss, I consider the dual readings of the grid; the one reading of the structure as 'antinatural' and a declaration of 'naked and determined materialism' (Krauss, 1997 pp9-10), and the other that defines the grid as functioning as a 'centrifugal' device that 'posits the theoretical continuity of the work of art with the world' (Krauss, 1997 p21). The work of Agnes Martin is given as an 'abstract' example of this position.
I interested in the relationship between the works of Agnes Martin and those of the weaver Leonore Tawney, whose 'Cloud' (sometimes called 'Untitled') works are a compelling repositioning and unravelling of the grid form. Both artists stated intentions that their work should not be read as directly referential or narrative, and their grids can be understood as devices for voiding possibilities to 'ground' the work in easily legible 'meaning'.
Krauss describes how such 'beyond-the-frame examples often entail the dematerialization of the surface, the dispersal of the matter into perceptual flicker or implied motion' (Krauss, 1997 p21). I consider how the implication of motion speaks to an energy within and beyond the work, thus implying a reading of the work as situated within a wider, connected, mesh of energy flows beyond its own boundaries. This speaks clearly to an understanding of 'place' as situated within a fabric or skein of wider connective threads, as opposed to the idea of place as boundaried or contained.
I wonder about how to work with the grid (in particular the warp and weft grid that forms the basis of weave) understood as a referent to 'the continuity of the art work within the world ' (Krauss, 1997 p.21) and a device to articulate stories of connectedness within the web of our ecological fabric, considering here Donna Haraway's writing on entanglement (Haraway, 2016).
I start to imagine Tawney's clouds, but filled with those flight paths missing from the skies above the field behind High Cross House.
Top right: 'The Great Unravelling', Emma Yorke, 2022
Bottom left: 'Untitled', Leonore Tawney, 1978 (photographed by Emma Yorke at Alison Jacques Gallery Feb 2022)