Is this art?

Don't answer that. January has proven to be just as busy as expected; perhaps even more so. Let's see, after spending much of the first 2 weeks out of the studio with my cold-from-hell (which is still lingering) I have:

  • Quilted and finished a new quilt that I've been picking away at for a while (pics below).
  • Did edge finishing on 2 2-yard pieces of art cloth, photos, and submission package for the Art Cloth Network Quake show.
  • Sewed rod pockets on a couple of other quilts.
  • Beaded a portion of another quilt top that is now sandwiched up and ready to quilt (again, no pics yet...soon I promise).
  • Assembled a 20 x 34 quilt top (no pics 'till it's further along).

That brings me back to my title question: Is this art? It feels like frenzy. Most of it is directed at trying to get in my required 30 studio hours in two weeks. I just keep reminding myself that I asked for this--dreamed of it--and worked hard to get here.

Again, back to the title question. Consider the following pictures and ask yourself: Is this art?

A detail shot...

I call it "Emerge". It's about things emerging from some sort of enclosure--especially thinking of seeds. The background is whole cloth. The tan/gold squares are gelatin prints that have been fused, and clipped. There's a lot of hand stitching in the background--rows of running stitch that are meant to evoke rows of planted seeds. The overall strong geometry is supposed to be about the geometry of planted fields. Blah, blah, blah. This is starting to sound very pretentious.

Anyway, the issue that I have with this piece is related to the strength of the images. Up close, the texture and the play of light contribute significantly to the visual interest. Much of this texture is lost when the piece is viewed from a distance. It looks a bit like squares stuck on a piece of cloth (yes, I know that's what it is...). It isn't until you get close that you're might be able to say, "Oh, there's something going on here".

Is it art? I don't know. I like it, but I have a gut feeling that it needs to work on multiple levels and needs to read well from across the room as well as 3 feet away. I think perhaps it's a matter of composition and size. For a piece this size I have an expectation that it will be work from 10-15 feet away. To do that the color and contrast need to be different. If the piece were smaller or much larger I might not feel that way. Interesting.