Joyce Wieland, Stuffed Movie, 1966
Mixed media, 142.2 x 36.8 cm
Vancouver Art Gallery
Stuffed Movie is part of a series from 1966–67 that makes use of shiny plastic and other brightly coloured synthetic materials. With these sewn-together assemblages meant to be hung on a wall, Wieland leaves painting behind entirely while continuing her preoccupation with sequentiality, temporality, and narrative, as linked to the experience of film.
Stuffed Movie is film-like: Wieland stacks multicoloured plastic sleeves encasing various images and small objects ranging from snapshots and mementos to newspaper clippings about the Vietnam War. The rectangular plastic sleeves are reminiscent of individual frames connected vertically in a film strip. This artwork is obviously hand-sewn, but Wieland’s crafty sensibility did not necessarily result in objects that resemble traditional handicrafts.
Stuffed Movie can be linked to the mid-century Pop art movement, not so much because of its subject matter but because the piece evokes the allure of commodities. It mimics the glossy, translucent packaging that, by the 1960s, was beginning to envelop almost every object offered for sale in the Western world. Stuffed Movie and the other plastic works in this series hover between commodity and craft object. In adapting this material Wieland points to the shiny, mood-enhancing promises of North American consumer culture, even though what is meticulously assembled and sealed within these plastic bubbles are items both personal and political.
Other examples of this mixed media series include N.U.C., Home Art Totem, War & Peace, 8mm Home Movie, and Betsy Ross, Look What They’ve Done to the Flag You Made with Such Care—all from 1966—as well as Home Work and Don’t Mess with Bill, both from 1967.