By Mary Pal
Cheesecloth, canvas, acrylic paint.
89 x 123 cm
Nysha was the first collector of my cheesecloth art when I began this technique in 2008. After months of email correspondence, we finally met at a conference in San Francisco, and formed an amazing friendship. A talented longarm quilter, he designs colourful and meaningful art quilts, and utilizes his drawing skills with Zentangle-adapted quilting and an incredible array of handmade textile and paper books. The patterns and illustrations he creates are painstakingly precise, exquisitely detailed, and always beautiful. Although we live far apart, we chat on almost a daily basis; he is a sounding board for any new direction in my art that I am contemplating, always there to support me and applaud my successes. To my delight, he did me the honour of asking me to stand up for him at his wedding two years ago. I hope this portrait reflects my high esteem and admiration for this remarkable man.
About the Artist
Mary’s processes involve saturating cheesecloth with adhesive and sculpting it into forms that are ultimately machine-stitched to a background textile. Cheesecloth represents the very essence of textiles – the most minimal configuration of warp and weft. Its fluidity permits Mary to control opacity, to depict light and transparency, to add texture and colour, and to play with chiaroscuro.
In this portrait, Mary was able to take advantage of the sculptural qualities of cheesecloth to create the texture of human hair, a beard, and the woven fabric of a garment. She layered the cheesecloth over an underpainting of the subject’s face and clothing and added a painted backdrop.