January 13 - March 9, 2018.
to purchase artwork from this exhibition contact the gallery
On View: January 13th – March 9th, 2018
Marta Hewett Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition of contemporary artists exploring traditional and alternative textile materials and techniques. Artists include: Jappie King Black, Kevin Cole, Erika Diamond, Orly Genger, Tim Harding, Sheila Hicks, Heather Jones, Ed Bing Lee, Judith Scott, Yvette Kaiser Smith and Jim Vollmer. With materials ranging from cast bronze and fiberglass to fine dupioni silk and alpaca, these artists exhibit innovative use of fiber materials and the woven tradition. The exhibition will be on view from January 13th through March 9th, 2018. The gallery will host an opening reception on Saturday, January 13th from 2- 5 pm. This event is free and open to the public.
Studies have shown that fiber is the most popular medium for making art in America. In 2012, the National Endowment for the Arts revealed that 13% of adults engaged in weaving, quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing and needlepoint. People participated creatively using textile processes more than any other art form, including music. * Fiber artists are often dismissed from the larger realm of contemporary art as simply craftspeople, producing works of decorative interest, but lacking communicative value. There is a current shift in contemporary art by artists employing craft materials and processes in order to convey their view of the world. Interwoven presents a varied group of artists from around the country, women and men, millennials and octogenarians, who are recognized for their innovative use of textiles materials, or their employ of textile related processes in alternative mediums. The scope of materials, method and message are as distinctive as the included artists themselves, each pushing the boundaries of fiber materials and the woven tradition.
*Hyperallergic, Knitting Together the Beginnings of a Queer, Feminine Future, 12/26/2017
Jappie King Black (NY) has been innovating textile arts over the course of her long career. Natural materials such as grape vine bark is woven into figure like compositions that elude to dolls or cultural relics that carry a hidden story of their unknown origin. Recently, King’s practice has included creating hand knotted bowls that are then cast directly in the lost wax tradition. The end results are vessels with voids or missing fragments as if they have been unearthed from an ancient society.
Known for his colorful compositions, Kevin Cole (GA) twists and weaves paper, wood and metal to create his lyrical works. Cole’s artwork is well known for including imagery of neckties as symbols of power and emphasizes the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, hip-hop, and gospel. He incorporates patterns and textures from traditional African cloths to speak to human conditions and behaviors. These inspirations are depicted in linear elements that are woven and knotted together in expressive movements through space.
In here latest series, Erika Diamond (VA) has woven alpaca wool on a loom to create compelling images of impending disaster. Emergency instructions from airline flight manuals and steps required in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver are delicately illustrated in luxuriously soft tapestries. In her largest work, three airline passengers clutch their seat cushions, floating in the ocean. This is the artist’s nod to The Three Fates, who spin, draw out and cut the thread of Life.
Orly Genger (NY)* is best known for creating large-scale installations from coils of rope. Genger’s often-monumental rope installations are frequently painted in bold hues. Red, Yellow, and Blue (2013), installed in Madison Square Park, is made of 1.4 million feet of hand-crocheted lobster-fishing rope, with which she created three towering structures painted in the primary colors. In addition to her monumental works Genger has captured this relationship with the material in cast bronze, creating a permanent knot never to be unwoven.
After working in painting and photography, Tim Harding (WI) became intrigued with the intimacy of textiles; their textural, tactile richness, pliable plane and inherent grid of the weave. The layering process is a crucial aspect of Harding's practice. He uses it to obscure and slowly reveal images beneath the surface using a distinctive reverse applique technique. The pieces included in this exhibition are from the artist’s more rarely seen figurative series. Layers of stitched silk and organza carry haunting images of figures floating within the fabric and existing in two worlds – the physical and the spiritual.
Born in 1934, pioneering fiber artist Sheila Hicks (NY/FR), blurs the boundary between painting and sculpture with her vibrant woven and textile works. Hicks creates works that vary in scale from the intimate to the enormous. Wall mountings mimic the format of painting and suspended pieces hang from ceiling to floor like textured columns. Hicks studied at Yale under the famed color theorist Josef Albers and was encouraged by Albers’ textile artist wife, Anni, to travel and investigate the artisanal fabrics of Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, experiences that proved formative to Hicks’ artistic development. Her use of “domestic” materials differed radically from the rigid industrial techniques of the Minimalists and hard edges of the abstract painters prominent amongst her contemporaries.
Heather Jones (OH) is an accomplished textile artist and the author of Quilt Local, published in 2015 by Abrams. Having produced an impressive number of quilts she interweaves the traditional process with contemporary images inspired by everyday life - urban landscapes and architecture in Southern Ohio. The end result lends a fresh and modern look to this beautiful tradition. Jones’ work blurs the lines between painting and textiles. The quilts fuse her talents for composition and color with the structured format of two-dimensional art. The result is a bold combination of shapes and textures that elegantly hang with the intent of a painting.
Octogenarian, Ed Bing Lee (PA) has been perfecting his knotting artistry for over 40 years. In 2007, Lee was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Crafts. Working with colored waxed linen thread and thousands upon thousands of knots, Lee transforms a modest material into complex three dimensional fiber objects. His initial attraction to knotting was its immediacy allowing for great latitude in design, concept and technique. Shaping is possible by using different tensions or knots or different materials. Lee continually returns to art history for visual and conceptual stimulation, which is evident in his brilliant compositions.
Born in 1943 in Cincinnati, Judith Scott was a visionary artist who was isolated with Downs Syndrome and deafness. Her twin sister, Joyce, became her legal guardian at the age of 43 and moved her to San Francisco where she was a resident at Creative Growth. During this time Scott was given the opportunity to create the sculptures that defined her as an innovative and unique contemporary artist. Judith methodically wrapped and knotted string and yarn around everyday objects. The finished works are complex and intricate – plump with layer upon layer of linear color. The pieces possess a powerful physical presence and carry the weight of an artist whose talents were hidden during her young life.
Born in Communist Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1958, Yvette Kaiser-Smith (IL), began her signature process in 1992. Spools of soft, white cords of fiberglass are crocheted into lace like planes. The elements are dyed and then soaked in epoxy resin. As they cure, the artist’s deft use of gravity transforms the flat patterns in to three dimensional elements which are combined to create larger, at times monumental works. The intricate sculptures are rooted in patterns inspired by complex mathematics, geometric theory and phi. Her use of subtle color and delicate forms capture light and project shadows that reinforce the complexity of the work.
For more than 25 years, Jim Vollmer (WA) has been creating glass works in his studio in Seattle. The intricate patterns in his pieces are drawn from textiles and tilework of diverse cultures. Incorporated into the panels, in vivid color, are Persian patterns from the Middle East, mosaic motifs from the Mediterranean, bold graphics from the Kente tradition in Ghana and fanciful designs inspired by the earliest Americans. Although the inspirations for the works may be borrowed, Jim Vollmer's intricate technique of bundling and fusing thousands of pieces of glass string is entirely his own.