Tapa

Textiles have traditionally been the realm of the female. My Czech ancestors were tailors. I learned to sew at 7. The cross over of applied and fine arts coalesces in textile and clothing design. It's one thread through my work; issues of high and low art, craft, the functional and the fine.

5 Paintings/5Textiles was created for my undergraduate thesis exhibition in Art and Ethnography at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa (1982), and included five 30–40 foot long hanging hand-painted textiles based on ancient Hawaiian tapa cloth motifs. The designs were in turn originally inspired by natural forms, such as the sea urchin pattern or the snake pattern. These formal elements were then worked into corresponding paintings, depicting the figure in an action relating to the design.The classic Missionary muu-muu (long dress), still worn in Hawai’i, inspired "Missionary Dress" (1983) made of a hand-stamped tapa pattern created from wood block prints I cut, and printed on handiwipes; contemporary kitsch mimicking ancient tapa cloth. This piece referenced the white man's "cleansing" of native Polynesian religion, culture, and body.

 

 

[ top ] [ print ]