Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From the Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America


The modernist grid continues to influence contemporary art. The grid and the evolution of this visual idea, the matrix, have become essential in understanding the conceptual relevance of work that explores the connection between the hand and the digital and the seen and invisible. The structured simplicity of the floor loom weavings of Ruth Laskey, the Internet based work of Eduardo Navasse, the industrially produced weavings and digital sound installations of Christy Matson and the digital installation work of Julius Popp are used as examples to trace the influence of the ideas that Rosalind Krauss and other art theorists began pursuing in the 1970s. In her essay “Grids” published in 1979, Krauss argues that the grid plays such a large role in modern art because it has the ability to serve “not only as emblem but myth”. This makes it possible for artists to produce objects that speak to pure materiality while at the same time implying a connection to ideas of spirit and “Being.” I argue it is worthwhile to consider the use of the grid now as an effort to define the indefinable in a tactile way and as a starting point to visualize vast amounts of digital information created, stored and used by human beings. The grid and the matrix continue to be viable starting points for contemporary artists to explore the connections between body and mind and how these connections manifest in physical and digital landscapes.