Anna Jane McIntyre: For Jean Boulby, There is no Them. There is only Us. (Come closer)
Stantec Window Gallery
Winter solstice 2016 to Spring Equinox 2017
December 21, 2016 to March 20, 2017
“...identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within the narratives of the past.”
-Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”
Currently on view at the Stantec Window Gallery is the textile wall-hanging,
For Jean Boulby, There is no Them. There is only Us. (Come closer). The 13 by 5,5 foot work features a powerful proud female character. Casually stretching from ocean floor to celestial skies she stares upon passersby with a beatific grin.
For Jean Boulby, There is no Them. There is only Us. (Come closer) is a visual poem and sideways love letter to the artist’s aunt Jean, a textile artist, historian and McGregor sock-wearer living a little further up the road. The artist’s family has long been clothed and entertained by Jean’s exuberant creation of one-of-a-kind wearables, art collaborations and textile toys. Constructed from the artist’s family clothing and repurposed belongings, sequins, buttons, rhinestones, teeth, smells, maintained and discarded philosophies, weddings, birthdays, brass bells, false starts, myths, dinner parties, cheery memories, sweat, charms, changing tastes, culinary adventures, nomadic tendencies, souvenirs and trinkets collaged together with red embroidery thread on handprinted muslin, this wall-hanging is the artist’s attempt to return the favour.
There is a belief in some cultures that evil travels in straight lines. Evil is similarly thwarted by this hanging. There are very few uninterrupted lines. Contradictory ideas, events, energies and observations are sewn together in thriving co-existence. Buddhism, Stoicism, atheism and animism collide and mingle. The hanging has a soundtrack for those inside. Hung with wooden pieces and brass bells, when the piece moves it may whisper, rustle and chime. For Jean Boulby, There is no Them. There is only Us. (Come closer) is designed to communicate from a distance, yet also meant to reward those curious enough to take a longer, closer look. For in this smörgåsbord of visual philosophies are elements from Jean's life and ancestry. Victorian fish markets, Huguenots, Vikings, RAF meteorologists, Yorkshire dales, Whitby seasides, Captain Cook, star gazing, hedgerows, camping trips, Devonshire gardens, oceans, London Town all make their cameos here.
For Jean Boulby, There is no Them. There is only Us. (Come closer) is simultaneously a wishing-wall-work created as an optimistic nod and prayer for this coming year. The project was created to encourage viewers to selectively unplug, slow down, notice and enjoy those moments when things are going well.
Support of Stantec Architecture and Stantec Consulting is gratefully acknowledged.