Tyvek Innovative Uses Blog, by Material Concepts

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tyvek Art - Two Artists Collaborate

Artists Harriette Tsosie and Molly Geissman have done a few art projects, together and separately, using Tyvek in the pieces they created. They are using Tvyek 10GX in their work. From more about these two artists, please visit their websites:

Harriette Tsosie.
"Another Kind of Language."
Mixed media with Tyvek on panel
Harriette Tsosie

Molly Geissman

Harriette provides the following narrative about how she and Molly have used Tyvek in their work.

My use of Tyvek as an art material began in collaboration with Albuquerque artist Molly Geissman. Molly and I were preparing a site specific proposal for Eastern State Penitentiary. After attending one of ESP's orientation sessions we concluded we would need a durable material to withstand the harsh Pennsylvania winter climate and the prison's leaking roofs. Tyvek met our requirements.

Our concept was to create a series of hoods, referencing the hoods prisoners wore when arriving at the prison or when being moved to and from their cells. The reigning penal philosophy at the time the prison was built was that prisoners needed solitary confinement so that they could reflect on their crimes and repent. We envisioned hoods hung alternately within the cells and suspended outside the doors.

Although our project was not funded this year, we have continued to experiment with Tyvek as an art material and to develop Molly's overall theme of "Hoarded Spaces." Hoarded Spaces addresses both physical and mental hoarding and its consequences. We are currently working with two metal cages (formerly used for sorting mail). They are a metaphor for hoarded space that can contain: *trauma memories (PTSD); *cultural artifacts; *incarcerated people; *outmoded ideas, prejudices or political beliefs; *finite natural resources; *grudges and jealousies. Each of us has developed our cage according to our personal interpretation of this theme.
Molly Geissman.
"Hoods."  India ink, alcohol, pigment,
clear labels on Tyvek.

Molly left her cage open and filled it with Tyvek boxes that are stuffed with styrofoam peanuts. The boxes represent prejudicial, irrational thoughts, arising from fear of the "different,” the "unknown," or the "frightening." The boxes are worked with ink, graphite, and thread creating a visual image of conflict. The limited black and white color palette represents pervasive, uncompromising attitudes. Compromise is represented by shades of gray. For change to occur, the boxes--which are sewn shut--need to be opened, exposing and re examining the irrational thoughts.

I wrapped my cage in a large Tyvek hood, painted with images of brain scans, x-rays of the human head, and the imagined drawings of solitary confinement prisoners. A large branch sitting atop the cage represents the occupant’s deprivation of contact with nature and with other humans. The cage is a solitary confinement cell. It could house a POW or troublesome prisoner. It is emblematic of institutional power and its exercise. Its very existence repudiates ideas of rehabilitation or forgiveness.

While working on this collaboration I continue my usual artistic practice, making paintings and scrolls. Initially, I painted with encaustic (pigmented wax) on paper surfaces. The papers tended to wrinkle, develop holes or tear. Tyvek proved to be a better surface. "Once We Were Birds" is made with cloth like Tyvek, painted with Sumi ink and acrylic. The challenge of Tyvek was finding a medium that would work on its impermeable surface. Water based paints seem to sit on the surface, chip or scratch. I prefer alcohol based inks, which stain the surface and do not smudge or rub off.

My Tyvek scrolls will be exhibited in and sold from my studio, during the upcoming South Valley Open Studio Tour, Sunday, November 12, 2017.

This gallery of photos shows more of the Tyvek art from Tsosie and Geissman.

Harriette Tsosie. "Hoods." Mixed media/Tyvek

Harriette Tsosie. "Once We Were Birds." Mixed media/Tyvek.

Molly Geissman. "Hoarded Spaces Boxes 1" Mixed media/Tyvek

Molly Geissman.  "Hoarded Spaces Boxes 2." India ink/alcohol/graphite on black Tyvek.

Molly Geissman.  Hoarded Spaces Boxes.  India ink, graphite, alcohol/clear labels on Tyvek.

Many thanks to Harriette Tsosie and Molly Geissman for the their photos, used with permission. Thanks to Harriette for providing the details on the use of Tvyek 10GX in the art works.

Tyvek 10GX can be purchased online from Material Concepts in roll. Or contact Material Concepts for more information.

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