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Alice Spencer

fabricating time

Download series here. [10.5MB] Textiles are one of the oldest forms of material culture. From the time the most rudimentary cloth was woven, textiles have served to convey important ideas about human history, social values and personal identity. This essential utilitarian form, also an art form in its own right, is a central reference in my paintings.

I am interested in the function and dynamics of patterning: how patterns capture and order the power and beauty of the natural world; how they evolve as they gather, compile and transmit the evidence of passing time.

My paintings are composed using textile forms that touch, shelter and enhance the human body. Each painting is built in layers like an archeological dig in reverse. By layering these images, my paintings become maps or palimpsests of human experience unfolding in time.

The paintings are made with hand-made and "found" stencils. I use patterns from traditional ornamentation and contemporary design as well as fashion logos and digital graphics. I use materials of daily life like shaped greeting cards, packaging cardboard and paper doilies. A few stencils are ready-made from craft stores.

A note about the textiles: Most of them were found in the villages and workshops where they were made. Most of them were not expensive. They were chosen because they were made by hand and embodied the authentic weaving and embroidery traditions still alive around the world.