The towel that you dried yourself with this morning. The cotton sweater you like so much to wear. Is there anything more human than fabric? The materials that we surround ourselves with to keep us warm and protected are a constant factor in a human life. In Lisa Smithson’s work such domestic fabrics are elevated from their mundane daily use. In Lisa’s monumental works, fragments of curtains, duvet covers and handkerchiefs come together to create a striking, painterly whole.
Despite the magnitude of the work – wharenui for example is 420 by 250 cm – the effect is miraculously intimate and personal, as a result of the different techniques that Lisa applies. Using patchwork, sewing and quilting techniques the artist creates a bridge between the traditional feminine, domestic terrain of craft and the world of visual art. With skill and daring the artist seems to challenge the viewer to critically reconsider time-honoured societal attitudes.
Text: Karlijn Vermeij