The Yellow
Wallpaper

Curated by Tom Gallant

The novella The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) provides a framework for images and influences that relate to my practice and Dress 09. Its author Charlotte Perkins Gilman powerfully conveys a claustrophobic world inhabited by a Victorian wife passively imprisoned by her husband. Invited by the Crafts Council to curate this exhibition, I’ve selected seven quotes from it that pertain to connections both literary and artistic, and examples of my own work that have led to the making of Dress 09.

More about Tom Gallant
Read the Yellow Wallpaper

More about
Tom Gallant

I am interested in work that deals with beauty, the erotic and the obscene, using known devices and motifs. I aim to show that the aesthetics of craft and design are used to create a deceptive layer that allows the viewer into the work before they are aware of what they are really seeing.

Since 2005, I have been researching and making work exploring the languages of pattern that reflect the control of nature and the colonial forces that appropriated through collecting. As with the language behind the folk tale The Yellow Wallpaper has been central to that exploration.”

My research into folk tales led me from traditional fairy tale author Charles Perrault to contemporary scholar Jack Zipes, from Cinderella to porn film Houston 500. The nature of telling as a conceptual framework enables me to make connections between a visual vocabulary and a historical platform. At its core lies the abusive or absent male in our society and the force of industry that overwhelms all that is female in our culture.
 

My background studies were in graphic design, illustration and printmaking and it was a desire to shed these labels that led me to where I am today, though I continually utilise these processes in my work. An urge to return to a form of making that used the hand led me to paper cutting. The ease of decision-making that the computer allows has meant I have consistently used this tool. However, I insist on using my hands for the final pieces. The process of interpreting a language to merge the technical with the conceptual is one that fascinates me.

While I was studying I worked as an artists’ assistant. I have always loved working with specialists in different fields and when the chance to work with Marios Schwab arose I leapt at it. Dress 09 gave me a deeper insight into my own practice and the freedom to explore my ideas in different media.

Crafts Council - OnView Online