Week 2: The Laundry Collage

This week’s drawings are cut and assembled here, ready to be re-fabricated.  Drawing the piles of laundry became a repetitive, almost meditative task, much like the motions of folding the laundry itself.  The same can be said of drawing the waves, one of my favorite motifs of the Momentum Series, which I happily re-visit here, inspired by the print on my son’s pirate sheets.

Cave, 2010, 12" x 12", oil on panel

I started thinking about the dryer as a symbol for all that is safe and warm and comfortable in the idea of Home. The simple luxury of clean sheets and warm socks is one of the undeniable perks of My Suburban Life, despite the perception of laundry as a “chore.”  On the flip side, the dryer is a dark cave. That image reminded me of this earlier painting that was simultaneously about a place of safe shelter and a place of darkness and the unknown.  This relationship led me to ponder the way that dark and light co-exist behind each door, inherent to every situation.  It is our attitudes that have the power to keep us in darkness, or shed the light of curiosity, compassion and wonder.

This week’s collage began with a painting of the dryer (or washing machine– an alternate reading) as a self-contained house or shelter. The paint was swished around in circles to create a sense of movement inside. Then I added some clothes and began piling the folded laundry around the machine. It became a kind of Laundry Fort, somehow appropriate considering the playfulness of this composition, pirate sheets and all.  One of my intentions with this project was to not rule out the silly and the absurd, but to instead give all ideas a chance. This process is both humbling and exhilarating. (“You mean I really can make a ridiculous painting about a dryer and piles of laundry and pirate sheets? Really? Yippeee!”)  This is the kind of work that would be mortifying to show in graduate school. But things are different now. And better. Here is an image of the final collage:

In Week 2, I was able to see a natural workflow emerging that may lend some consistent structure to the project. The idea for a theme comes together on Monday or Tuesday, some aspect of My Suburban Life that needs exploring. (Ideas for the weekly theme may be stored up in my sketchbook or arise more spontaneously that week.) This theme provides a focus for the daily drawings. I will post a discussion of the theme on Thursdays with images of the drawings in progress. The collage is created over the weekend, and on Sunday I will comment on the process and post images of the completed work.

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5 thoughts on “Week 2: The Laundry Collage

  1. I love it! Interestingly, as I was absorbing all the elements in your collage, I kept hearing, “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” in my head. Your composition is the sort of flight-of-fancy creation that would have spun a thousand stories in my head when I was a child.

  2. I like how you’re tying together your current and past artwork. The cave from the past becoming a way of thinking about and exploring the dryer imagery beautifully emphasizes the interconnectedness found in your life — and ours.

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