ARTISTIC STATEMENT FORCHAD ALAN
I was once asked if I was a painter or a quilter? My response was, both. Since a young age I have felt an emotional connection to fabric and saturated colors. During my undergraduate education in fashion and textile design, I used machine embroidery with a few crumbled scraps of fabric on an uninspiring tailoring project. This combined with an idea drawn from a fellow classmates corset project, was the start of modern tapestry.
Through my Masters work in costume and stage design, I continued to explore the idea of painting with thread and fiber. After completion of my thesis, I began to understand that the life of a costume is typically the two weeks while on the stage, then it is retired to the endless rows of stock. That is when I decided to create my first traditional piece of art. Since that moment, I walked away from costume design and I have not returned since. Although, many would argue that my work is and will always be firmly planted with theatrical roots.
The first Modern Tapestry pieces consisted of a base of heavily starched denim, up to 13 layers of fabric and netting, and approximately 2,500 yards of thread fusing the compositions together. Beyond 13 layers, my sewing machine rightly refused to cooperate. In 2002, I discovered that it is possible to transform the one heavy layer into four separate layers on a lightweight netting. Each of the netting layers is stretched around individual stretcher frames and the frames are mounted together to form a fanciful field depth perception.
I am constantly working to reach the next phase of modern tapestry.
My work is currently represented by five different galleries nation wide, with the most recent acceptance into the newly opened Kushnir TaylorGallery in New York. In the fall of 2002, I was awarded the prestigious Young, Emerging Artist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2003, several of my pieces were shown in the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Art Collection. And during 2004, my work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Times, and the Today show.