Susan T. Avila


artist statement

The pieces in TEXT/iles include language as part of the conceptual and physical manifestations of the work, perpetuating a long standing tradition of textiles as text. Etymologically, textiles and text share the same stem of the Latin word, texere, which means to weave. Metaphorically, textile words are often used to describe language--a tale is woven, ideas are strung together, stories follow a connecting thread. Conversely, textiles can be read as language; this is especially significant in relation to clothing and identity. There is also an historical precedent for reading a textile; before written communication, the semiotic patterns and colors of textiles provided pivotal information about culture and social beliefs. Textiles visually describe and can be interpreted as language.

In the TEXT/iles work, words harvested from contemporary life, sometimes contained in email or cyberspace, signify human desires and urban mythologies that promise dream fulfillment, wealth, and life enhancement, thus "to embroider" embodies both technique and metaphor. The familiar sensory qualities of textiles provide a comfortable and ironic lens for communicating language. Words and text embedded in textiles give the viewer a point of departure, providing a built-in context to enhance the conceptual meaning of the work and stimulate a thought provoking conversation.

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