About two years ago I did an interview with Leslie Blackmon, a fiber artist who had done an amazing solo exhibition of crochet sculptures that I loved. This artist is constantly pushing herself to explore new mediums and new paths and has now moved on from crochet art to working entirely in drawing and painting. I wanted to take a look at some of the stuff she’s done recently.
The solo exhibit that caused me to first learn about Leslie Blackmon was called Baa-America! Icons Revisited. It consists of a series of 20 crochet / mixed media sculptures. Each sculpture was a humorous comment on a well-known person in American pop culture.
So for example there’s an Andy Warhol sheep:
And a Martha Stewart sheep:
in my 2011 interview with the artist I asked her what she saw next, and here’s what she said:
“I think when you finish a solo show, you enter a natural questioning period. The show was so much fun it is tempting to just make more and more sheep, but it is also tempting to do something new. … I am currently just painting, although I have two sheep “in the works” too. They have just taken a back seat. Meanwhile, I have other crochet shows in mind that would take me in a whole new direction, and that’s fun to think about too. And then … I have tried to think of how I could combine crochet and painting in a fun kind of show. I tend to think in terms of bodies of work … so each of these projects would be very time-consuming, and I have to think carefully before committing to any one of them! I have ideas that are pretty well formed in my mind that I think would be good shows, but I have to decide whether to flesh them out … I have no idea which direction I’ll go (yet). I think an artist must allow themselves time to explore things they feel drawn to and just follow wherever the path leads. So . . . I’m trying to keep my mind open to both the fiber art and painting and see what happens. It’s a personal search though.”
Pushing In New Directions
One of the things that I think is great about Blackmon is that she is willing to keep trying new things. She went from a career in law to being a stay-at-home mother then she decided to pursue an artistic path. She started out making wearable art, which is where she developed a lot of her crochet skills, and then she moved on to the mixed media fiber sculptures. Now she’s focused on drawing and painting.
Right now Blackmon is working on a paintings-on-canvas series called Yonder that explores her memories of the town of Ozark, Alabama where she spent her childhood. She explains a lot about her experience in her artist statement. Something interesting she says here:
“I am interested in the interaction of memory, imagination and the present moment. … These layered memories form a kind of internal lens, shaping the way I see and experience the present. The more I contemplate that lens, the stronger it grows. When I walk a path, look at a tree, or do my own family’s laundry, I am transported back to a past that seeps into my daily life at every turn. It is my intention to make these connections visible, through paintings that fuse the past and present, the real and the imagined.”
Photo credits: images by Miriam Rosenthal via the Leslie Blackmon website