“Conformity” was originally made to hang in the main lobby of the Cook County Administration Building. This form looks at one way that an individual, an individual’s form, is affected, in its relationship to the mass shape and to its immediate neighbors, by the attachment to a particular group.

Much of the process of my work walks towards, or looks for, truth…truth of material…truth of form… truth of narrative. I believe that the “abstraction” of “abstracting a narrative”, which is what the work does, happens naturally as I articulate, re-state, or more accurately, find in the sculptural material and process of “crocheted fiberglass” a defined story based on real life relationships.

“Conformity” started as six individual tubes crocheted to be the same width and the same height with a slight variation of stitch in each. They were joined together along the long sides with five panels, again the same height and width. The body as a whole has eleven parts. When sewn together “at the hip”, they produced one large very precise rectangle. One part at a time was put into resin and hardened before the next part was processed the same way.

The fiberglass cloth that I crochet from continuous fiberglass roving does not stretch when still dry. Immediately after the application of polyester resin, the cloth becomes translucent and stretches uncontrollably for about 30 minutes. It is in this stage that the form is found. I apply the resin in small amounts so that I can control what happens to the form. The language of this material/sculptural process is a natural analogy for the narrative examined in “Conformity”.

The color in this work was applied after the form has hardened and been sanded. The enamel is applied inside the tubes which then is filtered or obscured by the translucent clear fiberglass; on the back of the joining panels; and also on the front. The front surface paint obliterates individuality and, in occasional bits, paints it back in.

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© Yvette Kaiser Smith 2004