Monday, August 27, 2012

TAG Interview with Darlyn Susan Yee

Darlyn Susan Yee
The Red Dress 2006 Photo by Hugh Hamilton 
Knitted Plastic, 74" h x 15" w x 12" d
Your work includes knotting and knitting, as well as crocheting. Are there other ways that you use fiber and other materials in your work? What are they? Where do you get them? Do these other techniques change your work in any way? Or, vice versa, have changes to your work resulted in exploring new materials? 

 I really enjoy placing traditional fiber methods in a new context. For my Alternative Material Series, the selection of barricade, flagging ad audio tape drives the concept of the final project. Created from string, the works in my Knotted Sculpture Series are smaller, with meticulous detail in both form and structure. In my Body Cocoon Series, I use amazing commercially produced specialty yarns with the more flexible techniques of knitting and crocheting to represent the various shapes of the human form. And in my Public Art practice, the visual impact, duration of the installation and exposure to the elements influence my material selections.

Yarn bombing has become a trend…Tell us a little about public yarn bombing? What is the motivation, the history, what issues are involved? How is it different than vandalism, than seasonal decoration? Does the yarn bombing you participate in require a permit? Do you ever worry about being sent to jail like “Revoke” or “LA II”?) 

 Yarn bombing is a temporary public art form - a non-damaging urban intervention. Most of the projects I've worked on have been in collaboration with Yarn Bombing Los Angeles. We've created installations at the Craft and Folk Art Museum and 18th Street Art Center. In response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we collaborated on the Empathy Circle displayed at the Union Center for the Arts in Little Tokyo. On the closing weekend of Art in the Streets, we yarn bombed our cars outside Geffen Contemporary at MOCA to show a softer side of graffiti. And during the College Art Association Conference, we participated in Un-Space Ground by creating and dispersing pillows inscribed with Wish I Were Here in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center adding a warm texture and color to the otherwise sterile environment.

The immediate feedback while working on a yarn bombing project is so exciting. And applying the technical skills in a different way has been freeing. With any form of expression, there is a risk that others will not receive the message in the way it was intended. Response to Yarn Bombing Los Angeles projects has been favorable, and with each installation we mount comes another idea or opportunity. Some yarn bombing projects are sanctioned and involve permissions, site plans, permits, insurance, etc. Other projects and collaborations happen more organically. In both cases, we take responsibility for returning the public space to its original state.

Darlyn Susan Yee
Hot Mamma Apron 
Crocheted Plastic, 2012  64" h x 62" w x 3" d
What do your newest creations say about the human form? Are you considering making pieces so that they are wearable? (Do you flirt with the idea, but stop at that boundary…if so, why stop at that line? Is the distinction between wearable art and sculpture important to you? Why or why not?) 

Re: Fashion, my upcoming exhibition at TAG Gallery, is about fashion and attire, though these works are not intended to be worn. Using exaggerated conceptual styles, larger than human sizes, and repurposed materials I playfully challenge traditional roles of family, gender and consumerism. It has been quite fun to play with the energetic colors and textures to create these new artworks.

Girls play with fashion dolls that often have lots of bright pinks in their wardrobes. In reality, pink is a difficult color for a woman to wear and be taken seriously. With Hot Mamma Apron and Hot Mamma Mitt, I juxtapose the frivolous feminine pink with the impact of plastic fluorescent flagging tape most often used by construction workers.

In what ways does your work speak to the various cultures of Southern California? How would you like it to affect them? 

Whether showing my work in a gallery or museum, or installing it as public art, the familiar voice of fiber begins the conversation. The common thread woven through all cultures is the sense of home and place. Without regard to location, social status, culture or gender, everyone recognizes the processes because they know someone who knits sweaters at family functions, or crochets baby booties, or creates beautiful knotted necklaces. When people see my artwork in a different context, it sparks dialogue about fiber methods in the contemporary context, and at a more base level, about our upbringing, home, and comfort.

Darlyn Susan Yee Photo by Wyatt Conlon
Detail of Edyth Wyle Square Knots 
Two Knotted Knit Cord Banners 
as installed at Craft and Folk Art Museum, 2012 
48" h x 26" w x 1"d each

 Darlyn Susan Yee's exhibition opens September 4, 2012.

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