Saturday, April 25, 2009

Drawing and stitching. The Idea of the North at 210 Gallery an artist run gallery in Brooklyn NY

The idea of the north works by Cyrilla Montzer and her statement about her work.
Pencil on industrial wool felt hand sewn with silk thread.

Work with Felt 2006-'08

Would I had seen a white bear! (for how can I imagine it?)

I have been pondering this absurd statement from Gertrude Stein’s The Life and Opinions
of Tristram Shandy. In confronting the ridiculous, I am motivated to make work.

It is also true that a small wooden polar bear has found its way to my worktable in the last
year. It had belonged to my Aunt Fritzi, who got it in Alaska. Polar bears are solitary
creatures. They traverse continents, working their way to becoming extinct.

The first three-dimensional body of work I made with cream-colored industrial wool felt
was titled Polar Bear Glove Song. The felt is close to the color of polar bear fur and
reminds me of snow, a bear’s natural habitat. Both insulate and make quiet.

Like Polar Bear Glove Song and the freestanding More saints seen, the new felt pieces in

the warm snow series are stitched together by hand with lustrous pale grey silk thread.
And like the earlier work, the new three-dimensional pieces are self-supporting; there are
no armatures or additional supporting materials. The new pieces, however, are larger,
increasingly rectilinear, and closer to the ground. As a group they form a 'settlement' of
building blocks, each a necessary aspect of a collective whole. The new series has also
begun to include flag and banner-like wall pieces in which shapes are cut out and then
inlaid (and stitched) into position not unlike marquetry. They are a means to mark the

Felt is a non-woven textile made from the compression of a tangle of animal fur and
behaves in unpredictable ways. To sew it into geometric forms or to stitch shapes within
eachother is to go against its natural inclination to buckle, stretch, droop, and torque
(which brings in an element of chance). I am attempting to push felt to do what it doesn’t
want to do while maintaining its integrity as a material.

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