Friday, March 30, 2012

in mass.

The work of the collaborative team of Miami based Cuban artists Guerra de la Paz blows me away. I love how the approach found clothing as a sculptural tool.

Their work varies from overtly political to much more subtle commentary on the state of the world. They have a solid series of sculptures made from military uniforms. Each one broaching the complexity of the relationships within the military and our perception of them. The above work is titled Martyr.

They utilize clothing, once used to express the individuality of one being, to speak towards issues of our "community" and larger societal issues.

As they work longer together their work definitely strengthens and grows. Initially their work felt much more like it was referencing costume and fashion. Now they are much more in the arena of installation artists. I love the humor and darkness that simultaneously exists in the above work.

I also find the work above about the western business world quite provocative. The 2nd work is tiled Power Ties. Why do we all look at work and money the way we do, where do the relationships we have and the quality of our day to day become more important?

I would love to see some of their work in person. The mass of something so ordinary as clothing always has the ability to be incredibly poetic and powerful.
See more work here.

knot your average knit

Opening this weekend featuring the work of my friend Katya Usvistky and the artist Elisa D'arrigo who I recently interviewed for an article in the SDA journal. Looks to be a great show just a short train ride or drive from NYC across the water in Jersey.

Knot Your Average Knit

Curated by Lovina Purple

Opening Reception Saturday March 31st, 7-10 pm

Knot Your Average Knit, at cWOW's Crawford Street Gallery, was curated by Lovina Purple and examines artwork being created in traditional craft techniques such as weaving, quilting, lace-making, knitting and embroidery. The exhibition features works by artists: Elisa D’Arrigo | Karen Margolis | Christina Massey | Hyo Jeong Nam | Gail Rothschild | Katya Usvitsky; In our New Media Room: paperJAM: a collaboration between Hannah Lamar Simmons and Rebecca Kinsey, with a special performance during the reception.

Elisa D'Arrigo, Byzantine Homage (2), 2005

cWOW is free and open to the public Wed-Sat 12-6pm. Easy access to cWOW by car or mass transit:
Entryway & restroom are ADA accessible. Large-print text from cWOW publications is available on request. Verbal descriptions of artworks and touchable artworks are also available on request whenever possible. For more information on our programs please visit

cWOW is funded in part by NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Prudential and Geraldine R. Foundation, and the City of Newark.

All the details here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

articles, events, and stuff.

My artist talk last night went great excluding the normal technical difficulties of a bunch of artists and a projector. We had a great turn out and I felt great about how my talk went. I also got to meet a few folks and speak to a local curator.

I was delighted to see my work as the image chosen to represent the Philly Icebox exhibit in an article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. The article features a number of the most interesting pieces in the exhibit including mine. Read the entire article here.

Check out this interview with the executive director of Fiber Philadelphia.

Don't forget about my call for work, deadline coming up next month.

And if you are in the Boston area 2 great fiber related events are happening tonight.

The incredible artist Orly Genger is speaking. You can read my post on Orly's work here.
Info about lecture here. I saw Orly speak in NY a year or 2 ago and she is an excellent and interesting lecture.

And tonight is the opening of:

Get all the info here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

nostalgic textiles-contemporary thoughts.

Amy Hougton's work was a stand out in the Philly show Mending=Art. On display was her work Cardigan study.

Amy manages to make incredibly powerful but conceptually simple video installations. From what I can see her way if installation is very thoughtful and considered making the viewers experience even more.

Much of her work is the unraveling or pulling out of clothing. Watching something through stop motion animation be gently pulled apart.

In her statement she says:

Amy Houghton’s practice involves exploring how we use and read antique textiles and photographs as stimuli for nostalgic longing, as indicators of our authenticity and as a tool to search for origin and as a connection to reality. Her particular focus in this area has been in the reading of indexical evidence found in these objects or part objects that are removed from their context, i.e. absent from their owner and without the full knowledge of the objects’ experiences

I found the work on view to be a very contemporary piece of art about a very nostalgic experience. Something that seems difficult to deliver. I very much hope to get to see much more of Amy's work in the future. See more here.

Hope to see you tonight!!

Wednesday, March 28 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM in Somerville.

Fiber, curated by Alexis Kochka, will explore how artists use craft materials and techniques, such as felting and stitching, to create dynamic work.

Come see and hear how two artists are fusing time honored practices with contemporary art making. Sculptor, Jessie Vogel, incorporates shadow and storytelling into her soft sculptures. Joetta Maue uses stitching to draw narrative portraits onto fabric.

Details here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

cast on/bound off

I have been a total fan of Jamie Lea Bersch since she first submitted to the show Cutting Edge. I love her sense of color and texture. She makes work that has a hodge-podge energy & loose sense of craft yet all of her work has an incredible sense of elegance. This shot of her studio makes me want to go over and have some tea talking art...

Then I could see more of her gorgeous work in person.

She is currently showing her thesis exhibit in Milwaukee and seeing the images of her installation and performance work cast on/bound off I felt the need to mention her here again.

In her statement she says:

I work with fiber because of its comforting quality and its unparalleled way of speaking to and interacting with the body. The fabric I use carries its own memory, structural elements, and inherent cultural and historic ties....Through making spaces into unfamiliar but comforting places, I explore the universal sensory experience.

The materials and techniques within my work question value and purpose. By combining remnants of fabric with utilitarian mechanical objects, I create unlikely but believable systems that take on a life of their own. Synthesizing elegant and everyday materials.

Piles... my favorite thing. I have always thought of doing a show that is just piles. Jamie's work would be great inspiration. Hmmm... how great would that be as a curated group show. Piles.

I love this piece which combines fabric and cement. As you know I love the contrast of soft and hard materials and have always wanted to play with casting soft objects myself. I actually really LOVE plaster and miss playing with it. Maybe when I no longer have to have a kid friendly studio I will return to it.

Read my previous review of her work here. See more of her work here. And if you are in Milwaukee go see her show.

Monday, March 26, 2012


this beautiful life.

in the studio...

making progress and looking forward to getting some things finished.

new poatoes...

Tilleke Schwarz has a new self published book, new potatoes, available. This is the 2nd self published book of hers and looks just gorgeous.

As most of us know Tilleke has been making her incredible gorgeous embroideries that pull from graffiti, news casts, cats, and personal conversations for years. Her work has layers of thought and texture. I have always been drawn to it and love exposing my students to it.

I have often thought of doing a self-published book myself and seeing Tilleke's makes me inspired to do just that for my upcoming exhibits. Has anyone else out there done this?
You can get details on ordering Tilleke's book here and see more of her incredibly beautiful art.

Friday, March 23, 2012

swept away....

Phoebe Cummings.

I cannot wait to see the current exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design:

Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design

Stephen Livingstone.

This exhibit features artist working from dust, dirt, ashes and sand. The press release describes it as "works that deal with issues such as the ephemeral nature of art and life, the quality and content of memory, issues of loss and disintegration, and the detritus of human existence. "

Read about the exhibit here and read a review here. Has anyone seen it?

head space?

Things have been chugging along in the studio, slowly but steadily. Sometime my head feels like it is going to spin right off my neck as I have so many things going on. But everything I have going on is good so I try to simply feel grateful and utilize my time as well as I can.

But I do feel like I need to finish up some things as I have in the studio: 5 active pieces in the works and 2 shoved in corners forgotten about. It leaves too much to be thinking about at once. So this month I want to tie up a lot of those loose ends and get back to just having 2 pieces going it makes me feel mentally less spread thin.

This afternoon I get a few hours without T and am looking forward to some focused time stitching with the windows open and the radio on.

Here is a recent review of fiber philly which mentions my work and...
a nice review about my text work here. I always like when my text work get some love as to me it is just as powerful and important but sometimes gets lost behind the imagery of the narrative portraits. This review confirmed its importance for my practice- along with another potentially exciting development towards my language work too.

working from the self...

I am excited to be teaching a 2 day workshop at the Manhattan Textile Arts Center at the end of April. The workshop style of the class is going to be great as we can really delve into the subject matter of making autobiographical work. Discussing how to do it and the things to be mindful and aware of. Sign up and join me for the weekend of April 28 and 29.

Autobiographical Embroidery

Sat & Sun 11AM - 5PM, April 28 - April 29

Glean from your daily life and environment to create a one of a kind embroidered art work. We will begin by discussing the process and challenges of making personal art. For inspiration we will take some time to look at examples of contemporary fiber artists working in confessional or autobiographical ways.

We will discuss the creative use of diaristic writing and daily life documentation to create your own art while and do some process based writing exercises to open up to our own autobiographical story and language to work. The class will learn traditional stitches and embroidery basics to utilize in our stitched artwork. Students are encouraged to work with found, inherited, or vintage linen as their base. Please bring any personal writing, letters, or text that you find inspiring.

Details and sign up here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

see some art...

A few interesting shows around the country to check out are:

Cross Currents at Memphis College of Art featuring Kendall Carter, Orly Cogan, Margaret Evangeline, Mark Newport.

I personally LOVE the gunshot paintings of Margaret Evangeline.

The curatorial statement says this:

This exhibition explores the cultural expectations of gender and shows how these stereotypes are being illuminated in the art setting through choice of subject matter, materials and even actions.

Great contradictions are inherent in these exhibited works since most people customarily
expect the male hero to be muscular and unsympathetically hard and link textiles and the “decorative arts” to the feminine, defined as sweet and soft, while linking rigid surfaces and guns to the masculine.

The works included in Cross Currents delight in their contrariness. They challenge, provoke questions and stimulate discussion about the role men and women play in society, asking who benefits and who suffers from gendered role acceptance.

-Jennifer Sargent

Details here
A recent review here.

A show opening soon in Philly featuring quilting techniques looks like it might be quite good:

Synchronicity at HighWire Gallery

March 30th — April 27th, 2012

details here.

One that I will make sure to see at the Fuller Craft museum is:

Fresh Fiber Revisited: Work by Emerging Textile Artists from RISD, UMASS Dartmouth and MassART.

Seeing what the emerging crowd is doing is the most exciting.
Up until April 22.

Olivia Frassinelli

Details here.

Fiber in the Present Tense
March 1 - April 21, 2012
At the Arsenal Center of the Arts near Boston.
Details here.

Go see art!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

another little artist ramble

Ack, I just burned the top of my mouth with my coffee. ergh.

Anyway.... for any of you out there that have made large moves in your life you will know what I am talking about here. But ... I have had 4 total location moves in my life and have found that with each one massive change and growth in yourself is invited and occurs. When I first moved from Ohio to the East Coast I made the decision to fully identify as an artist to my community, get a studio and really take myself seriously, when I moved for graduate school I made the decision to more fully embrace my leadership skills and try to make things happen and build community, when I moved to NY I consciously chose to become a more outgoing and relationship risk taker as well as embrace other intellectual roles as an artist, and now I have moved again...

I have been thinking a lot with this move about my life. I always tell people that if they want to get happier that they have to imagine what they want there everyday to look like and make that everyday occur and let everything else fall in its place. And this has been so true for me and then all of a sudden I was blessed and had that everyday. But as I settle into our new surroundings and face the reality that your kids grow up really fast, and that your work as an artist trying to get shown NEVER ends no matter who you are- I question what else do I want in that everyday.

In the curatorial and writing work that I do I have realized that I want more then to be in my studio everyday. In the end that is too lonely and too repetitive to be the "everyday" of my life but then I SO do not want a traditional job at all, I crave flexibility. So I have been reflecting a lot on how do I want my "new" everyday to look what new things do I want to manifest and invite into my life. How does one choose to identify themselves.

A lot to think on and I have no answers just thoughts. But I often wish artists would share their thoughts and vulnerabilities like this with me so I share them with you.

While this has been mulling in my head I also read this incredible post at Joanne Mattera's blog about pigeon holing yourself as an artist. READ IT. It was very timely as I have been trying to figure out how I feel about being classified as "fiber" as I feel a little uncomfortable there. I always correct writers and interviewers to call me an "artist" and not a "fiber artist" and always ask for them to call my work "narrative portraits" not "portraits" as I do not want to be limited or confined by labels. Then I wonder what labels do I want and how can those labels be a step in the growth of myself and my career.

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