Guerilla Knitting: The New Yoga
I knit to make loud, unapologetic paintings. I use the process of knitting to draw attention to the conventions and context of painting, while addressing the nature of handicraft, its associations, and what those associations mean in terms of today’s society. The conversation between the process of knitting and the context of painting plays an important role in what my pieces look like and what they communicate.
Knitting is a meticulous, repetitive, and unassuming process that is often used to create practical objects. The handcrafted object, because of its labor-intensiveness, communicates thoughts and emotions that a machine-made item can never produce. It comes from a personal hand that prevails, despite our ability to create efficiently and flawlessly with machines.
I never use machines; each stitch is made with love as an act of faith. I am retaining faith by working hard while using the connotations of painting to ennoble and create an analytical environment. I understand that it is not solely the lack of functionality that lets these objects exist as paintings. I make colorful images in light of, and make reference to, important art historical movements such as Post Painterly Abstraction so that these objects, which are made by a humble and mundane process, are seen as images that can be respected and contemplated.
From one angle they can be approached as formalistic images as I employ training in terms of color choice, pattern and composition in an attempt to bait the viewer with a visceral, visual experience. I want them to be beautiful and seductive as paintings. From a different perspective, when approached as objects, the materiality can be contemplated. These geometric, at times cold formalist images become easily approachable and non-threatening because of the familiarity of the material. Viewers will have to explore their associations to make the connection between the materiality and the image.
Valerie Molnar is an MFA candidate with VCU's Painting and Printmaking Department. She was nominated to present her work at 1708 Gallery's Graduate Artist Forum on October 14th. She and her 7 colleagues are in group exhibition at Capital One Headquarters. Which looks great, by the way! Thank you to Francis Thompson, Nicole DeArmendi and Randy Hess for installation and support at Capital One on last Thursday, and also to Valerie and Britta Bielak for coming to install and for their support of their colleagues.
Stay tuned for more Forum artists...