In the introductory pages of A World History of Art, Hugh Honor and John Fleming point out that in the West, the concepts of arts and crafts went their separate ways as early as the 16th century AD. While arts such as sculpture and painting were placed on a pedestal, others, like pottery, embroidery, weaving or jewellery making had a lower status by comparison.
Ioana Stanca is one of the new generation artists who break the barriers that separate artistic techniques. She is concerned not only with a less explored and under-represented space in the contemporary art world, but also an artistic expression popularly labelled as feminine. And she manages the impossible – to master both the craft and the concept.
And yet, the connection between the feminine and textiles is rooted in mythology. We think in this sense of the Moirae, or the Fates: Clotho spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures it, and finally Atropos cuts it with her shears. The three are both the embodiments of destiny and its guardians. Nothing can change the thread of life. The feminine symbol intertwines with the thread motif not in passing, but as destiny.
In the painting of the Fates, time plays as important a role as the thread, because the latter measures the former. In Ioana Stanca’s artistic practice, where embroidery and weaving play a central role, time is also a powerful element. Ioana’s journey in the textile space began almost ten years ago, around 2012. Since then, working with textile fibres has become representative of her as an artist.
But it’s not just about the medium an artist works with; it’s also about the process. As Ioana has mentioned in a recent interview, embroidery is like a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it born by accident. Weaving takes time and every knot, every stitch is like a careful waltz step – balance is the only one that works, because too much or too little zeal may compromise the entire effort.
In a way, like the Fates of the ancient Greek religion, the artist’s work with the textile medium is deeply connected with the notion of time – and equally with those of becoming, learning, and exploring. A deeply intimate, often isolated process. Although work always has a palpable, colourful, textured and warm result, it remains a solitary endeavour.
Although, historically, the textile medium is typically female, it is not an exclusively peaceful one. The shears, the tool with which Atropos cut the thread of life, is indispensable to this medium, and it is also marked by specific violence, by the aura of inevitability. Once the thread of life severed, the pieces cannot be joined back together. Ioana Stanca sees in the motif of the shears a kind of duality that opens new paths. Her shears are a tool that not only reacts to the artist’s ways of using it, but also looks back. It becomes a tool of reflection.
While Atropos uses her shears to end a destiny, artist Ioana Stanca uses them to create, reinvent, and discover – herself and new meanings in art…