Artist Ulla Stina Wikander uses cross stitch embroidery to create a new skin for everyday objects. Finding older, outdated technology, and furniture, she lines them with colorful embroidery that’s just as old (or older). “The cross-stitch designs I have collected for many years,” she explains, “and placing them in a new context allows them to change.”
via [My Modern Met]
World-renowned artist, Nick Cave once danced with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre before pursuing visual art studies. Now as a notable educator, and artist he continues to expand his repertoire of monikers: performance artist, sculptor, dancer, fiber artist, fabric sculptor….
His work melds art, fashion and dance together in otherworldly, dreamlike sculptures – most recognizably, his ritualistic costumes called “Soundsuits”: bright wearable embellished fabric sculptures that make sounds when worn. These sculpted, textured full body soundsuits layered in colorful metal, plastic, fabric, hair, and other objects designed to rattle and resonate with the movement of the wearer, usually Cave himself.
The soundsuits hide gender, race and class, forcing you to observe without judgment. They are sometimes sedentary, standing quiet as a more traditional piece of sculpture set in place within an institution or displayed at an art fair. However, sometimes they are in movement – alive in motion, engaging you in a joined narrative. The combined elements of sound, performance, color, and costume create a layered complexity – visceral moments entwined with a performance built on impulse, provoking a bond with the unfamiliar.
A few years ago, we were fortunate enough to catch Cave’s performance HEARD. He bought his mesmerizing soundsuits to Grand Central as part of their 100th year celebration. The performance piece featured thirty of his colorful horse suit creations wandering and dancing in the train station at set times.
Nick Cave [Website]
The More You Know:
- Check out Nick Cave’s current exhibition (his largest to-date), expounding beyond the soundsuits, an exploration of thoughts on race and identity. Until is now running at Mass Moca
- Teaching with Nick Cave’s Until, Until Conversations Emerge, Art21 | “Nick Cave’s most recent installation, Until, is an immersive and subtle confrontation…asking viewers to pay attention to the point at which they become participants in discussions about violence and race in America—right there in the gallery space itself.”
- Visit the SoundsuitShop, which was created to share the art of Nick Cave with a wider audience.
- VIDEO: Art21 exclusive, Thick Skin gives some insight into the impetus behind the Soundsuits.
We’re crushing on this golden knit installation, Extended Long Play, from artist Jolie Bird. These are the times we wish there was an art space in the office – we’d certainly put exhibitions like this on display. It’s a pipe dream right now. Until that day arrives we’ll give you the insights behind this design aesthetic from Bird herself…
“The exhibition, Extended Long Play, explores the idea of displacement through the use of everyday objects. Together they represent a collection of modern and stylized home decor objects. Although they do not belong to the same time, they are connected through their function and their design aesthetic, presenting a section of a room where someone sits alone listening to music. The objects are common, and found in many homes, making them easily identifiable … The pattern references a four-harness basket weave used to weave cloth, and resembles a soft floor covering commonly found in this part of the home. However in this context they appear cold or sterile, referring to the site for the installation, specifically the presentation of objects within a gallery setting. By presenting the objects in this way they are further removed from the ordinary and are now presented as artifacts for aesthetic contemplation. The white and grey tiles act as a negative space against the intensity of the gold thread. This remarkable colour highlights the transformation from mundane to precious; the objects appear to be dipped gold.
I started this process in 2007, since then I have obsessively refined and perfected this skill. Now that I have dedicated literally thousands of hours to the task I think about it in a much different way. Some aspects have become like second nature, my hands instinctually know what to do next. I tend to focus on ways of enhancing my sensorial experience. I play loud music on my headphones, more often than not I listen to heavy, droning metal. Music that is repetitive and has a certain rhythm can amplify the repetitive motion of applying the thread. In doing so I slip further into my own thoughts, feeling far removed from my physical reality. Fibre, through its very nature, communicates time; like many other textile techniques, this binding process requires patience and longevity even though it is a relatively simple task, with the making process inherently connected to its meaning.”
*all photos and words property of Jolie Bird
Brooklyn based artist, Tsuru Bride (Japanese word for crane), aka Meghan Willis, celebrates women’s strength and sexuality through her work; and I love her semi-super hero dossier. “By day I work in the apparel industry, and by night I explore the art of undressing, movement, and sensuality through embroidery,” she writes. “I aim to tempt the viewer to follow the delicate stitching that caresses the bodies I reveal through thread.”
Her work is hand embroidered on linen, leather appliques are stitched often creating colorful illusions, then hand painted with acrylics. Check it out these conversation starters…
Tart, Stretched Canvas, 8″ x 10″
Open Closed, 10″ x 11″
TUG, silk organza, Liberty print, and leather appliques 10″ x 12″
Double Exposure No. 5 (Tita), 8″ x10″
Double Exposure No. 3 (Nina), 8″ x 10″
Rift, 9″ x 17″
Coy, 10″ x 15″
photos courtesy of Meghan Willis website.
Los Angeles-based artist Ben Cuevas’ current obsession is yarn. Knitting worked itself into his art after he learned from a close friend and now creating conversations via fiber sculptures is a central feature of his work.
Our favorite so far is his installation entitled “Transcending the Material” where a knit sculpture of a human skeleton sits in lotus position atop a pyramid of Borden’s condensed milk cans.
“…It’s such a tactile medium and I’m really drawn to that quality of the material. The way it feels in your hands, the way it helps you mark the passing of time…all of these qualities seem very meditative to me. I enjoy the rich cultural and social history that surrounds fiber arts, as well as blending the distinctions between art and craft. The time intensive and repetitive nature of knitting allows me to meditate on a piece as it comes into being, further revealing the nature of the work as part of the process.
While I explore a wide range of subject matter (such as gender and sexual identity, human rights, and ecological impact), my work is rooted by my desire to explore the condition of embodiment through comparative philosophical perspectives, reflecting on what it means to have a body, to inhabit a body, to be a body incarnated in, and interacting with, this world.”
“The Locked Room” 2016, KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theater, Yokohama, Japan, photo by Masanobu Nishino
‘A sleepy mystery intertwined with beauty’, is how I like to think of Chiharu Shiota’s intricate large-scale installation pieces exploring the relationship between body and mind. Her work feels like being let into remnants of someone else’s dreams.
She tethers her memories to objects with lengths of tangled, crisscrossing black threads, securing them in a physical realm. Here we are offered the questions, the quandaries of an woman who dreams herself in and out of reality without ever really leaving the suspension of time.
It’s rare to see Shiota’s installations come towards the U.S., although (claps) her 2017 exhibition calendar has a solo show booked for Feb 21 2017 – Aug 6 at the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA / U.S.A.
Conscious Sleep, Venue: Cockatoo Island, 22th Biennale of Sydney, photo by Paul Green
“When I dream, I feel the dream as reality. I can’t distinguish between dream and reality. When I wake up, I have the feeling I’m still dreaming.” -Chiharu Shiota
I found a pretty amazing time lapse of “After the Dream” being installed at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery during the ‘Lost in Lace’ exhibition in London back in 2011.
Textile Artist, Ana Teresa Barboza is onto new things – embroidered landscapes and plants. But I’ll be forever attached to her series, BORDADOS, where she explores the art of embroidering the body and skin.
It’s visually intoxicating to imagine the grabbing, the pulling of oneself apart into threads to rearrange your fabric; stitch yourself back together in a way more suitable to breathe.
She makes it seem a natural course of thought, that one could exist in a space that allows nature to emulate canvas, where we can weave ourselves anew with needle and thread. These works are primal representations of structures torn from within or adorned throughout.
“Working with my hands, it’s something I’ve always done since childhood… and the incredible images that textiles can produce. I feel the fabric gives familiarity to the image, it pulls you in to stop and admire the details.”* – Ana Teresa Barboza
Artist Links: Ana Teresa Barboza Website
*quote taken from interview with Barboza at Textile Artist.
Explore another artist who takes needle to skin, in our interview with Eliza Bennet’s “A Women’s Work is Never Done”.
Well, our old tennis rackets are simply hanging out in boxes, pushed away into dark corners of our basement closets. Meanwhile, Cape Town-based designer and embroidery artist, Danielle Clough uses them to frame off vibrant embroidered flowers. Her series, What a Racket features brightly colored wool flowers weaved between the delicate threading of old badminton and tennis rackets.
Rackets aren’t the only things she’s been embroidering, check out her website to see her other fiber art projects.
MNEMOSYNE – Mne·mos·y·ne \ni-ˈmä-sə-nē, -zə-\- memory
A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen. -Edward de Bono
In a room of silent things, everything whispers as Philadelphia artist, Caitlin McCormack’s solo show Mnemosyne explores the mind’s attempt to reconstruct fragile remnants of memories before they are tainted.
McCormack sets the tone of the show with various cabinets of curiosities – drawers open to reveal slumbering stitches arranged in categorical boundaries yet to be defined, beveled shadow frames. Within this realm, McCormack marries found threads to existing pieces, embracing the melancholy of time overlapping memory in her delicate play of intersecting loops. In the crocheted bones of her discordant creations, lay manifestations of resurrected truths and birthed falsehoods; a balance of beguiling recollections arranged in unnatural juxtapositions.
MNEMOSYNE’s sense of fragility underscores a precious attempt to preserve that which has fallen into Obscura – to present a persistence of memory, as new life is stitched together in the parameters of anamnesis where memories live as beautiful fabrications that belie a beginning and beg off an end. There exists a haunting calm within the delicate wisps trying desperately to be more than retired graces of things they never were. ‡
“It is the second installment in a cycle of exhibitions; an examination of the consequences of my practices, as they pertain to the scrutiny of memory’s authenticity. I am drawn towards a vacuous well of recollection, in which the fibers connecting a network of truths and fabrications fade in and out of darkness, at the bottom of which resides a glimpse of memory’s mass extinction.” – Caitlin McCormack
‡version of this article was originally featured on ParadigmArts.
Mnemosyne is up at Paradigm Gallery until Friday, November 13, 2015.
*Photos courtesy of Jason Chen
‘Chowpatty’ by Shweta Malhotra
Pranita Kocharekar’s ‘You & I’
Now in Mumbai, you can hail a colorful story for that ride across town. Taxis in Mumbai are being decked out in wildly colorful fabrics courtesy of the company Taxi Fabric.
India has some 55,000 taxis smashing around the city on the daily, with all the competition for fares, taxi drivers pimp out their vehicles to attract customers. Fabrics for taxi seat coverings haven’t changed much over the years; the same fabrics geared towards function and less about design are being used over and over.
Tasneem Amiruddin’s ‘Jungle Book’
‘Monad’ by Samya Arif
Sanket Avlani, founder of Taxi Fabric saw an opportunity to bring something new into the mix. They highlight not only the art of design but the impact that design can have in an environment. This platform provided the makers a gateway dialogue about the importance of fiber arts as a mainstay. And opens a realm of accessibility to design students eager to showcase their work and celebrate their city by telling its stories with this exciting art form.
“We want to help Indian designers have their work not only be seen but also allow them to connect with members of the public who up until now perhaps haven’t understood that design can tell stories and create emotions.”
‘A century of Revolt’_ by Kunal Gaur
Right now it’s a limited number of taxis sporting the new looks, so finding one will be like searching for a diamond in the rough – but one with a lot more meaning and hopefully smiles from both the passengers and the drivers who move these stories about a city full of talent.
Lokesh Karekar’s ‘From a Taxi Window’
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, 30 designers will have their work be printed, stitched and fitted onto Mumbai taxi seats. That will turn into 20-25 Taxi Fabrics by the end of the year.
‘Urban Garden’ by Pavithra Dikshit
Gaurav Ogale’s ‘Cutting’
via Mental Floss
photos via Taxi Fabric
There was no polling of art aficionados, no pouring over magazines or newspaper reviews, and there’s definitely no big ballin’ art plays for likability listed below. These shows made the list because I visited them more than once (that rarely ever happens) or my sensibilities were totally confounded by the creativity. Shows that make that kind of impression can provide a year’s worth of conversational tidbits and a measure to which you might hold all others. Aw, enough with that…these shows rocked my 2014.
Spring Break Art Show
It’s fun, fresh, and daring like newly graduated art school minds before they get crushed and compromised. This curator driven show, gets set up in an old schoolhouse during Armory Arts Week in New York. Yes, we know it’s technically an art fair. But the 2014 show, PublicPrivate won us over with installations that we talked up all-year-long.
Kara Walker: A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby
Kara Walker’s Installation at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn was a “homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.” The exhibit was mind-blowing – from the overwhelmingly beautiful conceptual execution of the sugar-coated sphinx-like woman, to the very unexpected nauseating smell of burnt sugar permeating the hot factory.
Swoon: Submerged Motherlands
Swoon’s intricate wheat-paste portraits normally grace New York buildings, but for Motherlands she went large-scale, telling landscaped stories against a backdrop of dramatically blue washed walls in the Brooklyn Museum rotunda. The star of the show was the massive sculptural tree that nearly kissed the rotunda’s 72 foot high glass domed ceiling.
David Lynch: The Unified Field
Lynch’s grime aesthetics found solace at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA), where he studied as an advanced painting student in 1967. The exhibit explored Lynch’s hybrid collection of works, displaying a delicate balance from disturbing narratives to richly descriptive lithographs. Unified Field is his world of opposites that he wanders in and out of at will.
Interhaven: The Works of Caitlin McCormack
McCormack’s sorted things in shadowboxes lay posed and gracefully still as if they once knew air – their layers of articulated overlapping crocheted beige string bones resembled the things they never were. The show’s curio layout carried a pleasantly haunting tone, but it was the lingering of McCormack’s stored memories seen through these tangible manifestations of contained dreams and nightmares that left me feeling domed under her bell jars.
*thank you to paperclips215 & Paradigm Gallery for the use of their Instagram Photos
Upperplayground X Dennis McNett
It’s been out since early summer, but I figure I’ve still got a few months till the weather freezes me out of my t-shirts. So I’m still trying to make the HAITI Wolfbat purchase. Only every time I hit that ‘add to cart’ button – it keeps giving me that 404: Error ‘Sucka you too late screen’. So I guess I’m on an eBay hunt. But it’s sweet right?
Reminds me of my earlier summer find…
I’m completely obsessed with the storytelling creativity of Rumisu scarves. Their limited edition runs are a playground of hand-drawn illustrations transferred to silk scarves, while playful hand crocheted accessories (paying tribute to the traditional Turkish art of ‘oya’) dangle from a scarf corner. The scarves appeal to men and women alike with a flair for having trinkets with ‘must have’ names like: Moby Dick, Troy…War because of an apple, Chicken Pox and Car Theives. Rumisu is run by two sisters in Istanbul whose Instagram I check on the regular to see who they’re collaborating with next.
Swatch Caramellissima Watch
Swatch Watches are like Lisa Frank for me – two companies that remind me of my childhood – they possesses buying power I have yet to outgrow. And now I discovered a Swatch that won’t leave rainbow rings on my wrist or give me a communicable disease from sharing.
What other reason do I possibly need other than ‘these are some seriously rad chairs’.
Sticky Paper Tape Wrapping Paper
Design: Nina von Wahlberg
I suppose it’s like the laziest thing ever, but having to expertly gift wrap presents I can’t wait to give immediately bores me to tears. Then I saw this and immediately starting looking for things to gift. To my dear friends – everything I give you this year will be wrapped with this… Surprise ruined.
Real Rosewood Macbook Wook Keyboard Skin
I’ve been a bit obsessed with wood design lately, so I’d jump at the chance to turn my working pal into a rustic feeling. And yeah, this is real wood (NOT vinyl). It’s made from real Rosewood veneer with a 3M™ pressure sensitive adhesive backing. Fancy, Fancy…