A rag, a bone, a hank of hair
The process of organizing the unfamiliar is central to my work, which encompasses sculpture, drawing and painting. My method, an intuitive one, has led to executions across several motifs, including the rabbit/pelt, architectural forms and the effects of accidents (personally and through art making). Visual connection exists through the use of grid, which appears in nearly every piece, whether subtle or overt. The grid creates order and continuity as I traverse various themes.
This series is primarily created by cutting canvas apart, painting the canvas pieces with pigment, hanging them to dry, and then sewing the parts together with threads from the canvas. Thus, the works are sewn into themselves. The practice is one of forced separation in which the painted canvas pieces become the building materials sewn together in a new way. There are references in this method to my rather structured life. I find comfort in the structure, and yet it seems as though I am following a plan that is not completely my own. I have many regrets about decisions I have made. Was it the right thing to do, the thing I wanted to do, or someone else’s idea for me? The canvas represents my life: whole, neat, and tidy. When I cut it apart, I am cutting my life up so I can reform it into something less perfect and more human. The titles all begin with (re), referring to the chance to re-work a moment, a work of art, an idea; a way to move forward and past all that is behind me. Themes related to architecture and modern art emerge. The exhibition title comes from an expression I heard all my life from my Aunt Carol who is like a mother to me. Her mother would often greet her and declare, “you look like a rag, a bone, and a hank of hair.” My aunt, in turn, would say this to me if I came to her looking tired or haggard. These words are about imperfection and so are these new works. They are wrinkled. Strings hang from them. They do not fit together perfectly. My grandmother, a reluctant sewer, made three quilts during her lifetime. She was the perfect sewer. I carry on this sewing tradition, which has skipped a generation in the Shipps family. And I use her declaration, meant as a criticism, to identify this exhibition.