My works are completely rooted in my textile training. The grids — both visible and structural — and the repetition within each piece comes from, and are inherent to, the most basic levels of textile creation. In place of textiles I create lines and texture with a pastry bag as I extrude acrylic medium to make surfaces that invoke fabric or enlarged weaves. My drawings are made with repetitive pen lines that I then draw into with a wood burning tool. The burn tool allows me to pattern, value and obstruct areas that I want to hide. I work hard at pushing the surfaces of my work so that they are obscure, prompting questions about process, materials and time.

As a child I spent many hours in fabric stores with my Mother. It was then that I learned about the nuances of cloth, the subtleties of woven color and the “hand” of fabric. I still love the smell of fabric stores and find great comfort in being surrounded by bolts of cloth. Our shared, once-a-year journey through my Grandmother’s linen chest was pure magic to me because I got to touch the handmade bobbin lace and embroidered cloth, smell the cedar and hear stories connected to part of my heritage. My teenaged years were spent engaged in hand embroidery, marking the beginning of my love for repetitive and additive art making. That predilection carried me through my years as a textile student and lives with me today as I engage in creating layered and compulsive surfaces that refer to my heightened sensitivity to time and balance.

My work invites viewers to closely explore and absorb the physicality of the surfaces, the importance of the edges, and the patience of the drawn lines. I find great joy from hearing narratives about my work from viewers who often reference aerial views or topographical views of cities and almost always want to touch the surfaces. The act of making my work is as important to me as the meaning of the work.

The formal issues attached to abstract painting along with the historical significance of textiles to women are never far from my thoughts and significantly inform my work. I create abstract paintings from a weavers point of view.


© 2009–2019 Erica Licea-Kane