Alison Gates

Tyranny of Ancestry (2016)
mixed media with vertebrae, vintage dressmaker form fragment, stained silk, and glass knob
6 x 18 x 9 in.

Textiles frequently form both the content and materials for my artwork. Cloth and thread naturally carry cultural messages, and the processes of creating textiles are so old our languages are full of weaving, spinning, sewing and dye metaphors worldwide. Materials therefore often serve as symbols, and processes convey explanations. As a white woman in modern America, I try to cull meaning only from the textile histories I own personally. I come from southern weavers, immigrant seamstresses, Viking sailmakers, and middle class urban women who knit sweaters for their children and stitched cushions and towels for their homes. This is enough for me to establish a wide visual vocabulary.