In Conversation: Caitlin Almond
With Crosshatch, Caitlin Almond explores the relationship between form, object, and ornamentation with her use of elements pulled from painting, sculpture, textile and domestic craft.
In this interview, Almond speaks about her creative influences, working with BAF’s public Garage exhibition space, and how this installation brought together her writing, research, and visual art practices.
Before this exhibition, had you worked primarily as a painter? Is this your first time working three dimensionally? Can you speak to what was exciting and challenging about that transition?CA
Yes, I’m primarily a painter, however much of my work looks at abstracting three dimensional forms of domestic objects like lamps, furniture, and so on. So I wanted to challenge myself to explore that process in reverse, exploring what would happen if I were to begin with an abstracted painted image and give it form and allow it to take up physical space. Excitingly, with this project I used sculpture to explore painterly questions in a much more visceral way.
Can you tell us about the title ‘Crosshatch’?CA
Crosshatch is a popular textile pattern, so the title Crosshatch refers to the influence of textiles and pattern in the work. In this project I was exploring the domestic applications of pattern and pattern’s historical relationship to military applications of pattern and craft history. The sculptures in Crosshatch take on the form of the decorative screen. I’m really interested in this notion of the decorative screen as a domestic object that functions to institute difference between the public and private, social and intimate, employing pattern and decorative elements as a means of camouflage. While these ideas may not be immediately visible, I wanted the title to be suggestive of pattern, domesticity and textiles.
Crosshatch acknowledges artists like Alberto Giacometti, Rebecca Warren and Franz West and a wide range of other historical inspiration points. Were there any other influences for your BAF Garage installation?CA
Yes, the work in this installation was made with Rosalind Krauss’s text on Grids (written for October in 1979) in mind, I was really interested in how pattern could both de-stabilize the grid structure and reinforce it. And as I mentioned before, in this project I was exploring the domestic applications of pattern and its historical relationship to military applications of pattern and craft history. Specifically, I was looking at Dazzle camouflage that was developed in the First World War. I’m fascinated by the concept of dazzle camouflage, in that it relies on misidentification and the obscuring of form rather than the concealing of form.
The Garage is a unique exhibition space that can be challenging to work with. How did you approach this space?CA
The most challenging part of the space is the garage door itself. It’s metal, it’s huge, it obscures your vision, and due to its form, it determines the way in which you look at work. For Crosshatch, I tried to embrace the form of the door. Ultimately it is a grid, and my sculptures in the installation share this same structure, so rather than fighting it, I wanted them to be in dialogue with one another.
Your practice brings together elements from painting, sculpture, textile and the decorative arts, what can you tell us about this way of working?CA
To me, I see it as a reflection of my research interests, writing practice and artistic practice beginning to intersect. Historical processes, like the ideological construction of femininity and the gendering of the decorative arts, previously concerned me only in my writing practice, but are now informing the content and form of my artistic practice.
Where are you taking your practice next?CA
For my next project, I will be working with both sculpture and painting again, but rather than asking painterly questions through sculpture, I’ll be negotiating three-dimensional form within two-dimensional space.
See Crosshatch in the Garage, BAF’s street-facing public exhibition window, until Saturday, August 1st.