Keep Care ~ notes in preparation for the Autumn Seminar

Keep Care, 2018 Angela Carter

Keep Care, salvaged cotton sheet, crocheted cotton.

“clean your desk, wash the dishes, clean the floor, wash your clothes, wash your toes,

change the baby’s diaper, finish the report, correct the typos, mend the fence, keep the customer happy, throw out the stinking garbage, watch out don’t put things in your nose, what shall I wear, I have no sox, pay your bills, don’t litter, save string, wash your hair, change the sheets, go to the store, I’m out of perfume, say it again—he doesn’t understand, seal it again—it leaks, go to work, this art is dusty, clear the table, call him again, flush the toilet, stay young.”I

The work generated within my studio at present is circulating around a number of themes. One aspect I am working with, and within, is the normally private world of the home interior, focusing on domestic concerns around care and ‘maintenance’ work, a term used by Mierle Laderman Ukeles to describe the care work she did daily as a mother.

This work is mostly hidden and taken for granted, and for me also includes the emotional labour that many women carry, which is beginning to be more visible and described by women. In order to discuss this I have been making work such as Keep Care, which directly references domestic textiles, or home ceramics in form, scale and execution. Exercise 45 also speaks to my grandmother’s experience as a young woman and the economic and social pressure to both educate herself and generate income for her family.

Another aspect becoming central to the making is that of the ‘evocative object’ as almost all of these projects start with such an object. It may be the personal or familial relationship I have with the object, or the questions I have about the object (why is it here? why was it kept? what is its story?). It could also be a myth that has been built up around an object, or a new story I create. This is part of the process of working with found ceramics in Keep Care, and a current project for the group exhibition; Water, entitled Ocean of Air; Social Bodies where I invite gallery visitors to interact with my work and consider the meaning of the objects, and how they may feel wearing them within the space of a gallery.

The work sometimes moves out of this interior world and into a more social art practice often referred to as Relational Aesthetics, as with Gathering Material, Signature Cloth, where I feel my role is closer to a facilitator and observer of a shared activity, which I have set-up

Keep Care, salvaged cotton sheet, crocheted cotton.

Exercise 45, salvaged cotton-curtain, embroidery thread.

Gathering Material, Signature Cloth, in process, cotton tablecloth, embroidery thread.

1. ‘Mierle Laderman Ukeles – Artforum.Com / Critics’ Picks’. Accessed 14 April 2018.

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