|Restricted Access by Jon Riosa: OCAD University||| Print ||
My current body of work entitled “Restricted Access” investigates the concealing and protective environments constructed by oppressed individuals to prevent personal invasion of the mind. Through the process of wrapping and weaving, my work immobilizes the wearer in heavy, burdensome metal to illustrate the containment of thoughts and feelings, as well as resistance against impeding forms.
Integral to the development of my body of work was influence from innovative fashion icon Alexander McQueen. His use of unconventional materials in order to create wearable forms, and his pieces suggestive of physical immobilization inspired me to build this collection. I have always been fascinated by the work of avant-garde designers, and so I pursued this project focused on the construction of new forms with unconventional materials as a way of finding my niche within textiles
During the early stages of development for my work, I examined different material properties. The interaction between the body and materials, more specifically how material evokes certain feelings within the wearer when worn is what fascinated me most. When I first worked with metal in 2005, I was intrigued by metal’s strength, malleability, and its propensity to maintain structure.
"What you thought it was, it isn't now" fabricated aluminum and lead, 128 x 51 x 76 cm, 2010
I found that the material properties of metal offered the structure and flexibility I was struggling to attain through fabric. I began testing metal’s potential in fibre through the process of weaving, plaiting, and wrapping. I realized that the effects created through metal were significantly different from those of actual fibrous material. When interwoven, metal can create an impenetrable surface with beautiful and elaborate patterns. I also like the fact that woven metal can appear indestructible. I continued with my research on metal by placing and wrapping samples against the body.
"Lachesis" steel wire. 14 x 33 x 28 cm.2009
The contrast of textures between human flesh and the material is what I found to be of significant interest. The idea of having interlaced and woven metal against flesh simulated the idea of having a second skin - capable of providing shelter, protection, and concealment. In an effort to uncover more about metal, I attempted to treat metal differently from fabric by preventing evidence of seams and openings. My interest lied in creating seamless objects with no entry point because this was suggestive that the objects were inescapable. This method of working led me to focus on ideas of confinement, restraint, and immobilization. I knew that metal would be a highly effective material to employ as a way of expressing restriction.
You lost yourself again" steel wire, thread. 42 x 40 x 25 cm, 2010
The idea of cultural adornment and costumes embedded with symbolism and meaning provoked me to create these oversized wearable forms. Mass-production and the creation of basic apparel is something that I find less stimulating, only in the sense that I feel it communicates no story, no mystery. In the creation of my pieces, my goal was to convey a struggle; to show the cause and effect of one person’s choice. I also chose to approach this style of working large because I felt that it would be effective at making a statement, drawing attention, and illustrating the lives which we live as well as the world that we live in.
"I can feel you most when I'm alone" fabricated steel wire, and handmade barbed wire 46 x 21 x 36 cm, 2010
Despite my year-long investigation of metalwork in fibre, I am determined to continue working with metal. I believe metal has a lot of potential because it can be shaped, formed, and fabricated easily. But I also consider other materials such as wood and plastic to offer the same satisfying results. In the future, I look forward to incorporating other materials into my work, and exploring its potential in textiles. I am also interested in exploring other streams such as fashion design and millinery work, and incorporating my knowledge of textiles to those design disciplines. I am assured that by pursuing studies in other streams of design I can uncover the possibilities of utilizing other materials in fibre, while enhancing my own work and knowledge in fibre.
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