About the Work on Paper
In 2007 I began a series of work using a combination of thread, ink and graphite within a grid format to explore what defines a line. At first glance, the lines appear identical with little or no variation from each other. Upon closer inspection it becomes clear that some lines are sewn into the page and others are drawn in ink or graphite. Combining the two materials to create similar effects of line was a way to also think about two separate but overlapping languages; craft and fine art.
The thread line has dimension and a sculptural element to it, casting shadows and revealing space between it and the paper while the drawn line, depending on the material used, ink or pencil, appears to either rest on top of the paper surface or to sink into it. Studying, inspecting and comparing the lines becomes almost inevitable as the drawn line can be seen as a representation of the 3 dimensional thread line and visa-versa.
As the work progressed a breakdown within the grids occurred as I strayed from the use of constant parallel lines of earlier drawings and began using angles and at times more random patterns. The flow of information and line within each drawing may expand, contract, repeat or multiply depending on the system involved in the particular work. The systems are not perfect, there are hits and misses of intent along the way as well as a desire to let the imperfect unions of line remain. While making these works my eye/hand coordination is challenged: how straight can my drawn line be? Will my pen or pencil make contact with the plum line of the thread? The drawn line reveals the natural instability of the hand, a human element, something I have always aimed to maintain in my work.
About the Sewn Paintings
After working exclusively on paper for about five years, I shifted my attention to canvas and linen but continued my obsession with line while allowing the new materials and surfaces to transport my explorations in new directions. The change in materials opened up the work in terms of composition and personal narrative as the work became bolder and more colorful. Yet I was able to continue to explore the tension between craft and art, and the transforming nature of lines, surfaces and materials.
I use thread to apply color, add dimension and create sculptural elements. I love the functional abilities of thread to repair, decorate, and hold together. Woven, thread becomes a continual surface, as in the canvas itself.
Paint is more easily manipulated, applied and reapplied. It adheres to the canvas and stretches across it like a skin. Using tape with the paint provides a certain uncontrolled control as edges reveal themselves in an unpredictable way.
Both materials come with their own historical narrative: Thread conjures the woman's means of production and craft from its applications (both functional and decorative), while painting comes from a patriarchal lineage. Combining thread, floss and sewing techniques with paint allows me to wrestle with that ingrained gender tension. Does the viewer value one material or form of expression over the other? Or have we shed the narratives as two media play on the same field, basically doing the same thing – creating surface, shape, color, image, etc. - is that even possible?
Audrey Stone, 2014
About the Paintings
I desire to look very closely - as if through a microscope - at the work, the surface, the color and material. I paint on unprimed canvas and linen and build with layers of paint so that the changes in the surface can be seen. The first layers soak right into the fibers of the surface and leave the texture of the weave exposed. Gradually, as the painting progresses, the fabric of the canvas or linen is concealed by the layers of paint, and eventually is transformed into a smooth and velvety surface.
Edges fascinate me. Using tape to create edges and boundaries of color seems like an exercise in precision. But for me, I am excited by what is uncontrollable in the process – the paint that goes beyond a prescribed edge and bleeds out beyond my intention, a contradiction or rebellion within the work itself, a reminder of inevitable imperfections. I love when the edge of paint is built up over time and that layering is exposed next to an area that is left with less paint. The building up and leaving raw of the surface allows the viewer to see the process and marks the time involved with making each piece.
Color is at the root of these works. It is very subjective but then again has an archetype: sky blue; mourning and black; blood red. But colors also trigger unique emotions from personal associations. I use color to reflect emotional transition, create contrast, elicit calm, and for the shear excitement and joy color is able to provide visually.