In Wilson's own words, "the behaviors of ' Errant Behaviors' have to do with aspects of impropriety, aggression and accident. They include...references to silent film comedies, including connections to furious Keystone Cops movements, Chaplin's pathos, and Keaton's technological conundrums on film" (2003). But the chaos of Chaplin's Modern Times is toned down by the somber character of Wilson's film. With its relation to her Topologies project, Errant Behaviors takes on the appearance of a suffering landscape
(Fig. 9). Topologies , in its mourning attire, appears like a stark memorial to the natural and beautiful, a sublime depiction of femininity in a post-feminist culture.
While both projects, by way of the color black, evoke the unpleasant associations of death; it is Wilson's subtle comedy in these depictions of pathos that release either project from resonating as 'Gothic'. Instead, in keeping with the sublime as purveyor of awesome beauty, cause of terror or despair, Wilson's film is much closer to Chuck Agro's definition of the sublime as "something between dancing and dying":
"My impression of the Sublime is that it implies death -- it's a beauty that implies death. I don't think fear." (Haden-Guest, 2001, pp.55)
A long list of exhibitions has already addressed the aspect of 'women's work' or 'fiber's' move from the applied to the fine arts. Lois Martin wrote about a 1997 exhibition titled "Hanging by a Thread" in Surface Design , Fall 1998, celebrating the show for having been beautifully conceived, but lacking contributions from true 'fiber artists.' She discusses the feeling of malignment that the craftsperson holds when contemporary art borrows from their traditional vocabulary. Roszika Parker saw this merge of the fine and applied arts as a "benefit (to) painting rather than embroidery" (1989, pp.191), the relationship being a modification to masculinity rather than a transformation of the 'feminine arts'.
What was lacking in these assessment s of fiber in contemporary art, was that the practice of using these more humble materials to realize a conceptual project, would advocate the 'hand' (the body, the natural, the mortal) as an important aspect of the ideological. In the past, allowing the 'hand' to show as an aspect to the elegance of the construction of the resulting object was perhaps too hindered by a constant renegotiation of 'craft' itself within the discourse of visual arts.
As the need to valorize the hobby material is over (as these materials are demonstrated to be in popular and common usage), what is relevant is the investigation of these practices as a cultural barometer. In Sculpture in the Age of Doubt , Thomas McEvilley (1999) defines sculpture as involving an empirical presence, while painting an implied, symbolic one. When describing any of the low-tech, hobby-material practices, the trappings of painting and sculpture in terms of history, materiality and grandiosity, fail to capture the subtly of the work and leave the door open for more forgiving and neutral terms. The practice of the low-tech or the anti-heroic is an aesthetic, as much as a mandate, and one that doesn't necessarily favor a dimensional structure, but instead evidences humanity. With technology's isolating effect on the individual, mortality is made manifest in these handicraft projects, and in its evidence, illustrates a new romanticism that addresses the loss of idealism and the pursuit of authenticity. Acting as philosophical sketch, the low-tech signifies possibility and hope with its vulnerability, ultimately providing a rejoinder to the smooth edges of technology.
By approaching the authentic through this raw depiction in form (humble or formally othered materials) and content (the junk-yard, the points of excess, detritus and death), an honesty is attained that counteracts the cynical veneer so prevalent in the past. Here, there is a resonating loneliness in the atmosphere as artists grapple with themes of alienation and longing in an effort to reconcile a culture that is synchronously wired into the giant world network, while irrevocably alone at the terminal.