Henry Martin: Should an artist be in the world, looking out, or outside the world, looking in?
Rosina Godwin: Both! To be relevant, art should have some connection to contemporary issues. However, the artist should also use their own experiences to question conventional ideas and create a deeper dialogue.
My knitted sculptures were made in response to recent political events, revealing the undercurrent chauvinism embedded within the population. The artwork also examines my own interests – the conflict between individual needs, and the pressure created by society to conform to a standard role and beauty ideal.
Henry Martin: What does the word gender mean to you within your practice?
Rosina Godwin: In my practice, gender is fluid and often blurred. My work explores the Mother archetype, which can be both nurturing and life giving, but also terrifying and destructive. Ambiguity is created by fusing several oedipal stages into one piece – it is unclear if they are male or female, benign or malicious.
Henry Martin: What is the greatest challenge you face as an artist?
Rosina Godwin: As an artist working predominately in textiles, my greatest challenge is the traditional view of the hierarchy of the arts. Painting and sculpture = high art, while embroidery and knitting, is often viewed as a female craft = low art. My artwork subverts the nurturing associations of textiles, by making the homely feel of knitting alien when shaped into internal organs and taboo body parts.
Henry Martin: Who do you admire, and why?
Rosina Godwin: I really admire Louise Bourgeois’ wide material practice (wooden sculpture, stone carving, installations, paper works and textiles). Using her own clothes to make the soft, fabric sculptures, seemed to give the work an almost human quality as she explored her inner most thoughts. Her art has a deep intellectual quality, which makes the viewer think and feel. I really aspire in my own work to fuse the heart with the head.
Title: Nippy. Date: 2017. Format: Sculpture. Materials: Knitting yarn, stuffing, fleece, crewel wool, embroidery thread. Dimensions: Variable – length 240cm, width 9cm, depth 9cm. Picture Credit: Rosina Godwin.
This piece combines both masculine and feminine elements. The intestinal, phallic-like appearance has overtones of the serpent in the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, and culminates in a breast-like object.
Title: Mutter III. Date: 2017. Format: Sculpture. Materials: Knitting yarn, fleece, tapestry wool and linen thread. Dimensions: Variable – length 150cm, width 35cm, depth 25cm. Picture Credit: Rosina Godwin
The piece combines several Oedipal stages (oral, anal, phallic) into one piece. Though pink is seen as a ‘girly’ feminine colour – changing the form, materials or context makes the colour seem repulsive and disturbing.
Title: Mutter II. Date: 2017. Format: Sculpture. Materials: Knitting yarn, felt, embroidery thread, nylon tights, linen yarn and latex. Dimensions: Variable – length 205cm, width 18cm, depth 18cm. Picture Credit: Rosina Godwin
The piece is a abstracted representation of a female. The pubic hair, which appears at the end of the long knitted tube, is part of the on-going discussion on women feeling they have to conform to a specific beauty ideal.