Inspired by the trailblazing work of artist Miriam Schapiro, warp & weft is a celebration of the creative process and specifically the Schapiro-coined term “femmage.” Femmage, or feminist collage, defines any activity practiced by women using traditional women’s techniques to achieve their art – collage, decoupage, and weaving, just to name a few. Schapiro used the term to elevate the significance of women’s crafting in the home which was historically denigrated as “decorative” art compared to predominantly male artists whose pieces were classified as “high” art.
The form and content of warp & weft is particularly inspired by the art of weaving. I visualized a loom and the act of weaving while composing, where the weft (horizontal axis of the loom) is represented by sections dedicated to gradually developing melodies, and the warp (vertical axis of the loom) depicts the sections identified by strong vertical chords. Throughout the piece, I imagine Schapiro’s studio, full of color, various materials, and ideas, swirling around in a fantastical way as she moves from medium to medium celebrating the history and artistic viewpoints of women past, present, and future.
Sarah Gibson’s “warp & weft”...is a tense, fluttering work, and New and the Jersey players gave it both authority and bounce.