Mar 11, 2010

Introductions: Bobbi Meier

This week's MFA Fiber and Material Studies lecture will be presented by Bobbi Meier. Meier holds a previous Master's of Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently on sabbatical from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Illinois where she teaches art.

This last semester I got to know Bobbi Meier not just as a colleague but as a collaborator. During one our first critiques she said she enjoyed responding to other artist's mark-making and from this comment her and began a collaborative conversation. We decided that the parameters for our piece would be: 1) It should be textile-based 2) That we would pass it back and forth as often as possible 3) We had to add material every week 4) We could not remove material but we could alter it. Meier began the process with an embroidery and through a series of additive and reconstructive interventions we developed a strong collaborative conversation. This back and forth led to many material and methodological discoveries in both our studios.

This responsive method of collaboration is indicative of Meier's process. Her work speaks to ability to build conversations in her work by drawing from a history of painting, crafts, and domestic textiles. A recent body of work developed through a daily practice of drawing at home. Her son's forgotten action figures and the textile patterns in her home developed a visual conversation rich in dynamic. Against the background of her mother's bed sheets and furniture her son's toys began to speak not just of the history of objects but also of the exaggeration of postures.

Meier's drawings quickly developed into complex paintings and drawings that merged her love of textiles with a strong design element. The work moved from canvas to the wall and then after taking Rebecca Ringquis's “Fast Line, Slow Line” at Ox-Bow it was transported back into a semi-domestic context as a large scale wall piece. The work included found and purchased fabric, embroidery, and machine stitches.

Meier observed many visual responses to space and surface during her recent trip to India in India. She say that from painted elephants to trash trucks the culture of India was one of ornamentation. At the same time she fell in love with the naturally ornate beauty of a Banyan tree outside her residence. Combining it's innate decodance with cultural cues from her travels, Meier adorned the tree with tree-safe non-toxic paint. This action both show reverence to the tree and embedded it with her own history.

Bobbi Meier's lecture is Thursday, March 11th at 12:10 in Sharp 903 at 37 S. Wabash St., Chicago, IL. If you miss her lecture be sure to check out her website for information on her past work.

Next week's lecturer will be Barbara Wakefield (Wednesday 3/17)

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