In her solo practice, textile artist Marianne Fairbanks actively works to subvert and exaggerate associations and expectations of woven cloth. Weaving is often associated with a soft, domestic place in the home as clothing, towel, drapery, bedspread, creating layers of comfort and protection. While inspired by the patterns and ingenuity of these domestic textiles, Fairbanks considers a “both/and” proposition for weaving that conceives textiles as being both object and image, painting and sculpture, structural and soft, functional and impractical, textile and architecture. The work explores patterns, materials, and imagery that are bold and vibrant, subverting softness and quiet beauty with loud, vivid, attention grabbing palates and inflated dimensions as a means to challenge preconceptions and makes space for a new conversations about textiles as a sophisticated math system, material way of knowing, and playground for the eyes.
In addition to her solo work, Fairbanks launched Weaving Lab, a social practice project that invites the public to participate in the process of weaving, speculation, and conversation. Weaving tutorials are combined with conceptual inquiries into domains of rhythm, math systems, meditation, and materiality. Weaving Lab both explores and subverts each of these associations, situated between process and speculation, theory and making, and providing questions and experiences so that each participant can draw their own conclusions. The project works to extend access and exposure to weaving and considers how access to looms as a social destination might create community, new understandings of textile processes and momentum for locally produced textile goods.
During the lecture Marianne Fairbanks will discuss how each thread of her practice informs and strengthens the other in the symbiotic braid of her multifaceted research.
Biography of Marianne Fairbanks
Marianne Fairbanks is a visual artist, designer, and associate Professor of Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work spans the fields of art, design, and social practice, seeking to chart new material and conceptual territories, to innovate solution-based design, and to foster fresh modes of cultural production. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from the University of Michigan. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in venues including The Museum of Art and Design, NY, USA, Copenhagen Contemporary, Copenhagen Denmark, RAM Gallery, Oslo, Norway and The Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft, Gothenburg, Sweden.