Archives for category: Artist Highlights

Next Friday, March 11, marks the opening of Teem, a collaborative installation by Mary Babcock and Christopher Curtin. A first for Textile Arts Center!

Teem superimposes metaphors of water (movement/potentiality), and the sea (the infinite, comfort, danger, aloneness) to evoke a sense of dreamspace — the space of possibility. Using textiles, Teem creates an environment where viewers find themselves under the surface of the water at the powerful juncture where river currents meet the ocean tides, where the individual meets the collective.

(Previously installed as “Deluge”- see below)

Chris will be joining us for the Opening Reception, giving a talk that night on concept and installation. Unfortunately, Mary, the fiber artist of the two, is located in Hawaii and will be unable to join us… However, in preparation for the installation that will begin tomorrow I’ve been looking at Mary’s work a ton.

Through performance, installation, and textile media, Mary focuses on many familiar issues to us (war, revolution, natural and manmade disaster), through the idea of “mending” — something we’ve been talking about a lot lately around here.

Epitaph – Created in response to the US invasion on Iraq. TheWedge Gallery, Asheville, NC, 2003

Dirty Laundry – Performance/installation created in response to the US invasion on Iraq. TheWedge Gallery, Asheville, NC, 2003

In Mary’s words: “My work explores ‘mending’ and its implications for cultural change. Although I work across traditionally defined media and conceptual boundaries, the grounding point for my work is in the metaphors derived from fiber processes (e.g. stitching, binding, weaving, piecing) and the overarching concept of mending. I am interested in how precise application of fiber metaphors may heighten our understanding of both peace-building and of fractures in the foundations for social justice. Tattering might be inherent. It is part of the wear and tear – some necessary, some not so necessary. But we seem to fall short on the art of mending.

I am deeply interested in the profundity of listening and of silence – of listening to the conversation between materials, thoughts and processes and of experiencing the rich silence of open space. I investigate ‘making’ as a form of contemplative action – as a tool for illuminating implicit knowledge of our potential for compassion and our proclivities for grief, confusion and complicity with structural and personal violence.”

Departire – Site specific installation at Ueno Town Art Museum, formerly Sakamoto Elementary School, for Threshold: Sustainable Art Project, Ueno/Tokyo, Japan, 2009. A response to Tokyo’s changing age demographics that leave elementary schools vacant and shift cultural mores. Pieced from over 50 nagajugan, mostly of vintage silk from obsolete Japanese textile mills, handsewn by students and volunteers in workshop settings.

Circumspect – Created in response to the US invasion on Iraq. The Jones House, Boone, NC. Materials: Wall Street Journal and NY Times, stained; tapestries of black walnut dyed silk, kozo and book binders thread; typewriter erasure ribbons, post post mortem surgical needles. Chronicles deaths of the “coalition forces”. The names of those who died between the March 21st invasion and April 1, 2004 (the showʼs opening) were deleted from the ribbons as they silently vanished from our lives.

While we find no shortage of political art in general, and specifically in the fiber and textile world, I find Mary’s approach to be unique. Instead of speculating the problem, it focuses on a solution, forcing us to think about what comes next.

Looking at her work, even through image, does invoke the feeling of silence. It makes me stop — at first at it’s beauty, and after reading her Artist Statement — to contemplate my own ability to pay attention to relationships between people, materials, concepts, places. Our ability, as humans, to withstand pain and hardship (including the ways we provoke it) and then our ability to focus on how to fix it. What new solutions can we come up with, and what can we learn from older ideas?

Unnatural Acts – Prickly pear fiber, silver solder, wire. 2003 Addresses the unnaturalness of imposed boundaries and forced militarism.

Deluge – Created in collaboration with Christopher Curtin for The Netshed at Alderbrook Station, Astoria, OR, 2010. Once the site of a thriving, albeit contested, salmon fishing industry, the Netshed – where fishermen would repair their gillnets – is an historical structure that serves as an icon for the interplay of migration, economy, ecology, dispossession and reclamation. Using hand-dyed cloth, the metaphor of water and reclaimed gillnets – the material that originally necessitated the site – we sought to re-engage the building’s history as a site of restoration and repair, creating a poetic context in which viewers might dream new possibilities for dialogue and negotiation. Gillnets provided by the Columbia River Fisherman’s Protective Union’s gillnet recycling project. Photo credit: http://www.donfrankphotography.com

I cannot wait to see Teem installed in our space. Other programming through March and April will be yoga and mediation, shibori, and Abigail Doan’s Earth Day workshop.

Hope to see you next Friday, March 11 for the Opening from 8-11PM! The show will be up through April. And you can check out the video of “Deluge” to get an idea of what will be up here.

I’ve got my mind set on Spring. I’m feeling claustrophobic and itchy in my layers, putting on boots ignites anger, and I just want to go to the damn beach. March is the worst month in this regard, and so to keep myself from avoiding SAD I’ve been thinking a lot about my plants.

I was given a my first potted plant by my mother when I went off to college. He’s almost seen his final days quite a number of times, but now that I’m settled, he seems to be settled and happy in my window sill with an Ivy I bought last Spring right around this time. So on this dreary day, while a jack hammer takes out our back floor spewing soil everywhere, I thought of Megan Piontkowski.

A few weeks ago, we had a drop-in visit from a local artist named Megan Piontkowski. This has to be one of my favorite parts about working here. I love when artists or designers stop in to see the space, introduce themselves, and we get to know a little more about the person at the same time as being introduced to their work.

Megan proposed some classes, and when I took a look at her website, her work immediately lifted my winter-blues.

The plants, of course, made me smile — but overall, there is a quirky and light air to everything she does — from her illustrations of her alter ego, Sebastian, to more political, tongue-in-cheek satire, like her own Economic Stimulus Plan.

I am also a fan of her embroidery. Somewhere behind my cluttered desk, I am a minimalist at heart.

Overall, I’d like to fill my apartment with things this subtly beautiful and happy. Only 21 days to go!

(Photos courtesy Megan Piontkowski — sorry for the small size!)

Last Monday TAC took a rest and celebrated President’s Day – which for me pretty much ended up being the day that I finally did all my laundry, cleaned my room, and faced the world as a grown-up woman. The bright and shiny moment of the day was the quick stop that my roommate and I did at a pop-up gallery space in 147 Franklin Street, in Greenpoint.

The gallery is hosting the 600/3×9 project, which consists of 3 different exhibitions, by 3 different curators, featuring an x amount of artists, and all this happening in a 600 sq feet space, during only 9 days (each show is up for only 2 days!). The three emerging curators, Jiyoun Lee-Lodge, Ati Egas, Renee Bovenzi were selected amongst a group of 12, by the curators of the IN RiVERS gallery.

Hannah and I catch the end of the first show, Hybrid Lifeforms,  curated by Jiyoun Lee-Lodge, and I fell in love with the work of Aidan Sofia Earle.

Sorting, dyed fabric and thread on paper, 2010

Aidan Sofia Earle studied painting but has “always been drawn to fiber arts” and her work brings together painting, embroidery, fabric applique and found objects. The result are beautiful and detailed compositions, that ask you to take a closer look and spend time discovering. One of my favorites is “At Nostrand”, which had kind of  a finding-a-treasure-box effect in me.

Small Pile, watercolor, thread and fabric on paper, 2009

At Nostrand, found objects, mixed media, 2010

About her work, Aidan Sofia Earle says:

“Man made objects accumulate in many ways. Things are collated and stacked, piled and flushed, bundled and lined-up. We have numerous approaches to organizing our belongings and our waste. Even the forces of nature come into play in the way objects are accumulated. The gyres of trash in the oceans, the accretion of items on shorelines, these discarded items, small and large, have transformed landscapes.

From the streets of my environment I gather and accumulate discarded items. As a magpie chooses its treasure I collect the left behind objects of daily life. Physically stitching the objects together I think of the accumulation as story quilts, each item carrying its perceived history while becoming part of a new whole.”

The Collection, wood, metal, dyed fabric, thread, 2008

Aidan worked as a fashion textile dyer and painter, puppet and prop designer builder, carpenter and artists assistant, experiences that allowed her to have contact with a wide range of materials and techniques, which is reflected in her work. She still hand-dyes the fabric and the thread used in her artwork.

Untitled, collage watercolor, thread, pencil on paper, 2008

Aidan Sofia Earle is currently an MFA candidate at the Brooklyn College.  She has exhibited with Sharon Arts Center, NH, Chase Gallery and Bates College Gallery, ME, Target Gallery, VA and had several residency fellowships, including Vermont Studio Center 2009, CAC Woodside 2010. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

I mentioned this exhibit on my blog yesterday but needed to have an excuse to further research the work of Anna Betbeze. She currently has an exhibit up at Kate Werble Gallery in NY and I cannot wait to check it out.

Anna is a young artist, under 35, originally from Alabama who went through the prestigious art program at Yale to end up as a working artist here in Brooklyn. Her work takes Flokati Rugs, think wool & shaggy, and she then dyes, beats, burns, and rips the work until it becomes a gorgeous but deconstructed skin of texture.

In a way her work is unclear, I remain unsure as what to take from it and her specific choice of canvas but in the end they are gorgeous abstract objects that have a more textural and therefore physical experience then most works of this style.

Her NY Times review by Karen Rosenberg beautifully said:

(The shows title, Moss Garden) refer to Michel Foucault, who lectured that “the garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space.” Fortunately the artworks don’t take themselves as seriously; they have a wonderfully forlorn, abject quality that inspires more empathy than theory.

I love the reference to the Foucault quote but do not agree that these works do not take themselves seriously, I feel that the “forlorn” quality is the “seriousness” of the work and though very abstract they also must be incredibly textural and through the process quite distressed and overworked.

I cannot help but wonder what the role of that deconstruction is… I feel that if an artist is choosing to take something and then in essence destroy it to make something new that there must be intention behind this act and I am curious to what Anna’s intention is.

Visually these works intrigue and satisfy, conceptually I still have questions and have much more ambiguous feelings but needless to say I cannot wait to head to the city and see them myself this weekend.

It would make a great day to see this show on the same trip.

Read another thoughtful review here.

Until next time keep your needle threaded.


Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

Be sure to check out Elana Herzog’s show, Into the Fray, at LMAKprojects February 19.
It will be up February 19 – March  27 with an artist talk March 6.

Herzog alters and manipulates found textiles, including bedspreads and rugs, by stapling, tearing and draping.  These fabrics are transformed into new surfaces, often resembling organic decay or growth on the gallery walls they inhabit.

(Photos courtesy of http://www.elanaherzog.com/art.html)

Last post I talked about my take on the million dollar art market and all of its many faceted complicated layers, so if you missed my post last time go check it out here. But today I will be focusing on the 2nd question posted to me:

What do I think about the expectation put on artist’s to be Mona Lisa famous in order to be successful?

In short, I think it is a shame. But I also do not think it is true either. I think the bigger issue is how media, literature, and old school professors romanticize the idea of the “artist” as the solitary figure, working like a mad man on their work, inspired by a flash of light. Being an artist in real life is NOT romantic, it is not easy, and I do not think any artist ever got shot with a flash of light-like inspiration.

Lauren DiCioccio

I think in general there is this “idea” that an artist chooses his or her art over life and that they essentially live, breathe, eat their art, that they are naturally blessed with their talent and success like magic, and they do not care if they make money, eat food, or have a nice apt.- and to me that is bull.  I actually have a friend who was quite talented whom gave up on his path as a writer because he could not fulfill the romantic idea of the writer. Though in truth he could write very well.

John Singer Sargent

I feel that this over romanticized idea of the artist perpetuates the “Mona Lisa” famous myth.  In other words it encourages this idea that you are nothing as an artist unless you are a bonified celebrity with your art.  I find this entire idea completely ridiculous as many of the most well-known artists of the past were never truly recognized for their art until they were dead, but yet they kept painting or sculpting or creating and kept getting by even thought during their lifetime they were never famous.

The celebrity artist truly began with Andy Warhol and has rolled like a snowball getting bigger and bigger. But to me it simply does not matter.  In the end the artist get’s to decide what “success” is not any one else.  To me the best art is made by artists whom are motivated by their passion and their intention rather than if they are in a “successful” gallery or not, or how much their work is selling for.  They make art because they are artists.

Cai Guo Quiang at the Guggenheim

To me the pressure in academia and media to become the next “big thing” perpetuates the over blown art prices and the shoddy work that is selling for those prices. Academia simply wants a “big” name they can spout out to alumni and prospective students, galleries want to drive prices up for their own pocket books (though only very few galleries make much money) and the artist’s have the choice to buy into it and only feel successful when they model for a Fashion Designer or have a show at the Guggenheim. But to me this is the artist’s fault for believing the myth.

Tracey Emin modeling for Vivienne Westwood.

The reality is that the true success of an artist is they keep making, they keep sharing, they keep telling their story, and hopefully they keep their integrity too.  Yes, we all want to make a good living off our art, and sure I would love to be represented by a blue chip gallery and never have to worry about how I am going to pay for my studio again. But to me this is a sign of financial success and there are many other forms of success that are more important to me. Showing up to my work everyday is success.

Adam Brouilette successful Ohio Artist that I love.

There are thousands of artists in this country that most of us have never heard of that support themselves with their work, they are successful regardless of the fact that no one has written about them in Variety or maybe they have never even been to New York.

Studio Painting by Andrew Lenaghan

To me success is a sticky word. And I prefer to stay unstuck. My life philosophy is imagine what you want to wake up and do everyday.  If you do that thing, even if for just an hour, than you are living a successful life. Even if you do not have the money to buy a Gucci bag.

So I say screw the myth and just make your art.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

Thanks to Tali Weinberg, one of our talented Resident Artists, for compiling a list of “must see” shows in and around the NYC area (plus a few more we want to see):

Master of the Blue Jeans, Didier Aaron Gallery, through February 4

Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork, Whitney Museum, through February 13

Convergence, Lumenhouse, through February 15

Balenciaga: Spanish Master, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, through February 19

Kashmir Shawls at the Bruce Museum, through Feb 27th (Greenwich, CT)

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats, Textile Museum, Washington DC, through March 13th (quick road trip anyone?)

AKWAABA: Weaving Unity Between Bonwire and Staten Island, Sung Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, through April 3rd

Art/Memory/Place: Commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Grey Gallery at New York University, through July 9 (closed March 27-April 11)

Knoll Textiles 1945-2010, Bard Graduate Center, May 18-July 31

Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformations on the Late 19th Century Northwest Coast, Bard Graduate Center, through April 17

Sergej Jensen, PS1, through May 2

The Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design, through May 15

Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, March 18-June 5

Rugs and Ritual in Tibetan Buddhism, Metropolitan Museum of Art, through June 26

A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles, Hebrew Union College Galleries, through June 30th

Have other recommendations? Let us know!

Join us and curator Scott Henstrand tonight for an Artist Talk on the current exhibition missing/Missed.

Textile Arts Center, 505 Carroll Street (btwn 3rd + 4th ave), January 24, 7PM

The following artists will be sharing about their work:

Regina Agu

Audrey Anastasi

Julia Elsas

Pat Hickman

Sara Jones

Mary Lippin

Jill Magi

John Paul Morabito

Maria Scarpini

Ed Schexnayder

Leonie Wunderlich.

Visit the missing/Missed website for more information on each artist!

Some days ago, after attending the opening party for the Missing/Missed show, curated by Scott Henstrand my friend and art blogger Lauren Palmor told me about Ghada Amer work. Sara Jone’s work, on view in the exhibition, was the reason that made Lauren think about Amer. And you’ll understand why.

Sara Jones, You Are Now a Strange Here, acrylic and thread on canvas, 2010

(photo courtesty of Sara Jones)

Lauren told me that I really needed to check her work and the video of the talk she gave at ArtTalks, organized by the American Federation of Arts. “You have to see it”, and when Lauren says this she means. And now I want all you to see it too.

Ghada Amer is an american contemporary artist,  born in Egypt,  educated in France and now lives and works in New York City. Her most recognized and characteristic work are her abstract painted and embroidered canvases, often with erotic motifs. However, Ghada Amer is a very versatile multimedia artist and has worked also with sculpture, photography, video, installation and performance.

Ghada Amer (American, born Egypt, 1963). Red Diagonales, 2000. Acrylic, embroidery, and gel medium on canvas. © Ghada Amer, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Private collection

Ghada Amer, The Woman who failed to be Shehrazade, 2008. Acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas.

(photo courtesy of Cheim & Read Gallery)

She has been specially interested in exploring and addressing themes like the “submission of women to the tyranny of domestic life, the celebration of female sexuality and pleasure, the incomprehensibility of love, the foolishness of war and violence, and an overall quest for formal beauty”. (in Brooklyn Museum website) Other themes included the ” Western (mis)perceptions of Middle Eastern culture”, world politics and, recently, she has been working on antiwar pieces. (ArtTalks PR and Brooklyn Museum)

Ghada Amer,  Barbie Loves Ken, Ken Loves Barbie, 1995/2002. Embroidery on cotton. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

In 1991, Amer decided to replace the pencil/brush by the embroidery needle, so she could talk about women and women contemporary issues and problems, through a medium that have always been associated with women’s craft.

“I was always attracted to deal with the subject but I never dared, really, to do it (..) Then I had to, in a way, because I was looking for a way to paint with embroidery. I was depicting women doing domestic activities and the embroidery itself was a domestic activity. I needed to find imagery that would really challenge the embroidery as a medium and contradict it.”

(in TheDailyBeast)

On her talk at ArtTalks, Ghada Amer talks more about her choice for embroidery and her work (start at minute 13, to jump to the embroidery section).

Ghada Amer’s  work has been shown in the USA and internationally in several museums and galleries, including the Whitney Biennal, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Tel-Aviv Art Museum. She is currently represented by the Cheim & Read Gallery in New York.

Last Friday I went to MoMA. I haven’t been there in a while and there’re a couple of exhibitions I wanted to see, like  the exhibition “On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century”.

Julie Mehretu. Rising Down. 2008. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 96 x 144″ (243.8 x 365.8 cm). Collection Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, New York. Photo by Tim Thayer. © 2010 Julie Mehretu

This exhibition “explores the radical transformation of the medium of drawing throughout the twentieth century, a period when numerous artists subjected the traditional concepts of drawing to a critical examination and expanded the medium’s definition in relation to gesture and form”. ( in MoMA website)

One of the mediums explored by several artists was fiber and thread. No surprises here, if we think that embroidering can be seen as drawing with a needle and thread, and the first examples of embroidered work date back to a couple of centuries BC.

However, the way the following artists used a fiber medium to draw, either two and tri-dimentionally, it’s nothing but amazing.

 

Susan Hefuna (German, born 1962)

Untitled, Mixed media, embroidery on tracing paper, 2008

 

Cildo Meireles (Brazilian, born 1948)

Malhas da Liberdade (Meshes of Freedom), Cotton rope, 1976

 

Anna Maria Maiolino (Brazilian, born Italy 1942)

Desde A até M (From A to M) From the series “Mapas Mentais” (Mental Maps), Thread, synthetic polymer paint, ink, transfer type, and pencil on paper,         1972-1999

 

Ranjani Shettar (Indian, born 1977)

Just a bit more, Hand-molded beeswax, pigments, and thread dyed in tea, 2005-2006

(photo courtesy of http://artinthestudio.blogspot.com/)

The exhibition will be on view until February 7th. Well-known-and-renowed artists like Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Vassily Kandinsky and Eva Hesse are featured, as well as the highlighted artists and many many more.

Make sure you don’t miss it!

On Line: Drawing Through The Twentieth Century is organized by Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art, and Catherine de Zegher, former director, The Drawing Center, New York.


 

 

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