Jill McCubbin - artist -

"Top 5" thoughts on why I paint what I do

I recently answered two questions about why I paint what I do, specifically: dress maker forms. I hope the following makes sense.

Describe in 5 sentences or less what motivated you to create this body of work.

My long-standing series of paintings of clothes flying from laundry lines provides context for my progression to re-imagining the daily routines and tools of domestic industry: such as dress making and dress forms, the tools of the seamstress or tailor. I believe my interest in the booming era of textile manufacturing in rural Ontario springs in part from my attraction to clothes, textiles and patterns of various kinds. Folk histories and labourers fascinate me. The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum is located in the former Rosamond Woollen Company, a textile mill in Almonte, Ontario, built in 1867. This mill, a National Historic site, and the mill's history has shaped the lives, culture and economy of my town and the Ottawa Valley region ever since.

Describe in five sentences or less what is engaging about your pieces.

A bodice or dress maker's form or a mannequin – all representations of the human shape – invoke in us a similar set of reactions to those that occur when we examine a naked body. When we look at the human form, we are repelled or curious or see beauty; we may feel sexual attraction or have a sense of the pornographic. We yearn for new intimacies or remember past ones and we are self-conscious or not. My paintings of dress maker forms revel in splashes of colour, textures that do not resemble skin, and they show wear and age as well as vibrancy and passion. It is so interesting how these non-human, non-nude images complement our varied humanity and individuality.

Jill McCubbinComment