‘Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about liminality’… Liminality is soft. It is malleable, compliant, fluid, and supple. It is a place in-between what is and what will be, questioning traditions and creating space for transformation.’ Anna Buckner.
Buckner compares her studio space to liminality. Writing that it’s a space where she creates works that exist somewhere in between piecework and painting. She collects her materials; old and found fabrics that have accumulated a history of their own. The fabrics are pieced together and stretched over a support so that they warp and distort away from their original composition. Buckner writes that she’s learning to enjoy this part of the process, where she cedes control. The scraps of fabric have varying degrees of elasticity; the works rely on these differing material qualities for their unpredictable distortion.
The resulting patchwork paintings are vulnerable and uncertain, and at the same time vivid and uplifting. Buckner writes that this flexibility and vulnerability creates a space for transformation; ‘it’s important for me to embrace both vulnerability and softness as vehicles for change’.
This soft, fluid liminality that Buckner talks about can be applied to the whole process, or ritual, of creating.
Originally the concept referred to the ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals. ‘Participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes’.
In creating, the ‘pre-ritual status’ – the planning period in all it’s confidence, has ended; everything is malleable and soft, and as Buckner says, holds the potential for any kind of unpredictable change. It’s only once the work is complete, when the threshold is crossed, that the restructuring can begin.
‘Liminality doesn’t follow rules. It’s chaotic and unpredictable, but it’s in these interstices of social structure, of artistic media, of religion that we are the most aware of ourselves.’