“I started my engagement with the Running Fence fabric with the intention of integrating Christo and Jeanne Claude's creative principles into my own process," says Caroline Seckinger. "Their concepts of impermanence, the use of elements from the natural world, and wrapping to conceal and reveal most interested me. My work started from the historical perspective that if this material had been left at the site of exhibition in the fields of Marin County for the last thirty years, the forces of nature would have pulled it into shreds and loose fibers. From this concept, my work began.
"The economic, social and historical significance of the Running Fence panels unavoidably intrigued me, linking me to the pages of art history. In a lineup of contemporary art world fabrics, this one would be of a clear royal lineage; its siblings contained in museums and venerable art collections worldwide. Now I possess this forlorn royal offspring whose fate is left to my scissors and imagination.
"This connection of storytelling with the fabric resonated as I considered the myth making that surrounds a superstar artist (i.e. Christo and Jeanne Claude), the myth making of Christian objects, and the role of fabric in several myths and fairy tales. As each of my forms emerged they inherently had a myth or fairy tale contained within.
"Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, waits faithfully for twenty years for the final return of her husband from the Trojan War. Her father-in-law, Laertes, doubting Odysseus's return, demands that she remarry. She agrees to find a suitor, upon the finishing of a shroud for Laertes. Yet each night she undoes the threads of the shroud that she wove during the day. My 'Penelope' is a representation of her clever rebellion.
"I applied traditional methods of women's craft: stitching, knitting, crocheting and carding to metamorphosize the fibers into another form; such as crocheting silk and mohair with the extracted fence fibers into the elfin sweaters of 'Reliquary II.' The synthetic fiber's resilience despite its softness and reflective properties fascinated me. 'Rumplestiltskin' was created by knitted wool and Running Fence fibers. This piece is a metaphor for the transfiguration of a humble material, i.e., straw, wool, the Running Fence fabric (originally created as a material for the automobile industry) into a precious commodity. The more I deconstructed the fibers, the more ephemeral and transitory they became, lending my art to both mystical references and true impermanence, in keeping with Christo and Jeanne Claude's original conversation with their piece."
Caroline Seckinger is a mixed media artist with impressive credentials. She earned her BFA from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MFA from California Institute Of The Arts in Valencia. Her creativity extends from directing award winning films to radio, and from drawing and prints to sculpture. She works with silkscreen prints on paper and paintings on canvas and wood panel.
She was the Featured Artist at The Gardener and had a solo exhibit at Café Clem in Berkeley, California. Her work has been displayed at the Berkeley Art Center, Gallery Michon and the Richmond Art Center. She also served as an Artist in Residence for the Andy Warhol Foundation in 1990 and has received two separate graduate scholarship awards for Outstanding Work from California Institute of the Arts. She also received the Peter Stark Award and the Davis Putter Award in 1991.
Visit Caroline's website at www.carolineseckinger.com.