UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric Of Fiber Art
The Untitled Space
45 Lispenard Street, NYC 10013
Opening April 17th from 1-8pm
RSVP VIA LINK
April 17 – May 28, 2021
Opening on April 17 and showing through May 28, The Untitled Space will be exhibiting UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art, a group show curated by Indira Cesarine set to feature textile and fiber-based artworks by 40 contemporary artists. The show explores in depth the themes and techniques of the medium through the works of female-identifying artists working with natural and synthetic fiber, fabric, and yarn, presenting figurative and abstract works that address our lived experience and history through the lens of women weaving, knotting, twining, plaiting, coiling, pleating, lashing, and interlacing. Narratives of self-identification, race, religion, gender, sexuality, our shared experience, as well as protest and the patriarchy are literally “unraveled” through embroidery, felt, woven and hooked rugs, braided and sewn hair, sewn fabrics, discarded clothing, cross-stitching, repurposed materials and more.
Indira Cesarine, curator of the exhibition stated, “UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art investigates the narratives of contemporary fiber artists. The exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists who each address through their own personal vision, materials, and methods, works that are deeply rooted in the history of feminism, in the intersection of art and draft, addressing living experiences and personal languages. Living in a world of extremes – on one hand, the pandemic has brought forth an intensity on digital and online programming peaking with the emergence of NFT art, and on the opposite end of the spectrum artists are seeing a return to the comforts of the home and along with it a renaissance of organic and handmade artworks that embody that spirit. The laborious and repetitive methods required to create one work of fiber art can take hundreds of hours yet equally the creation process is often referred to as a mediative act of healing, allowing for an expressive personal and cultural interrogation.
Fibers have been an integral part of human civilization for thousands of years. Textile art is one of the oldest art forms, dating back to prehistoric times. Despite early works of textiles such as embroideries and tapestries having been made by both men and women, the tradition of textiles and needlework evolved into that of “women’s work” and was not only dismissed as not “important” but was literally banned from the high art world by the Royal Academy in the 18th century (circa 1769). With the rise of the women’s movement as well as technological advances, women reclaimed the medium, subverted its history as a lesser art form, and transformed it into a tool of expression, of protest, of personality. From early suffrage movement embroidered banners to the groundbreaking exhibitions and works of female pioneers such as Bauhaus weaver Anni Alber’s momentous solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949, Lenore Tawney’s exhibition at the Staten Island Museum in 1961 to Judy Chicago’s groundbreaking 1979 work “The Dinner Party,” we have seen the medium evolve and inspire new generations of fiber artists.
UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art explores this new wave of female-identifying artists who are using materials ranging from thread and yarn to human hair, fabrics, and discarded clothing, among a range of other components to unravel the “language of thread” with works that provoke and interrogate. Whether drawn from a deeply personal narrative, or rooted in political motivation, each artist weaves, spins, sews, and hooks the viewer with their detailed and intricate textures that communicate and empower. The exhibition presents two and three-dimensional pieces that explore with gravity and humor our contemporary culture, its beauty, flaws, and idiosyncrasies through murals, assemblages, fragile and gestural threads, meditative, and metaphorical fibers. UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art pushes the boundaries, investigates ancient as well as new materials and techniques, and presents a contemporary universe of the language of women and their interwoven, progressive vocabulary.”
Exhibiting artists include Amber Doe, Carol Scavotto, Caroline Wayne, Christy O’Connor, Daniela Puliti, Delaney Conner, Dominique Vitali, Elise Drake, Elizabeth Miller, Hera Haesoo Kim, Indira Cesarine, Jamia Weir, Jody MacDonald, Julia Brandão, Kathy Sirico, Katie Cercone, Katie Commodore, Katrina Majkut, Katy Itter, Kelly Boehmer, Linda Friedman Schmidt, Lisa Federici, Marianne Fairbanks, Mary Tooley Parker, Melanie Fischer, Melissa Zexter, Mychaelyn Michalec, Mz Icar, Orly Cogan, Robin Kang, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Ruta Naujalyte, Sally Hewett, Sarah Blanchette, Sooo-z Mastopietro, Sophie Boggis-Rolfe, Stacy Isenbarger, Stephanie Eche, Victoria Selbach, and Winnie van der Rijn.
unravel [ uhn-rav-uhl ] to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.). to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.
Select artist statements regarding their works in the exhibition:
“I am a multimedia artist who uses sculpture and performance to bear witness to the experiences of black women even as American society aims to render us and our lives as invisible and meaningless. Despite the prevalent “urban black” narrative, my experience is tied to the natural world, and I use materials that reference my desert environment and my lived experience as a black woman with Indigenous roots,” Artist Amber Doe said.
“I mix subversion with flirtation, humor with power, and intimacy with frivolity. My subject matter is frank and provocative, dealing with issues of fertility, sexuality, self-image, isolation, vulnerability, indulgence, and beauty in the mundane, which are designed to challenge social stereotypes embedded within childhood fairytales. My work explores the many flavors of feminism,” Artist Orly Cogan said.
“I pull from my autobiography to illustrate stories of trauma, sexuality, intimacy, and growth. Detailed beading and cyclical patterning emphasize the consistent labor in the repetitive motion of hand-sewing, that which mirrors the emotional and psychic labor expended in order to manage the suffering a body can accumulate over time. My sculptures translate the life experience of a survivor of complex trauma through the lens of glittering beadwork in order to recount deeply traumatic stories for the same cultural collective that due to repression, denial, censorship and deliberate silencing…” Artist Caroline Wayne said.
“This body of work scrutinizes the amalgamation of victim shaming tropes that men and women are taught throughout their lives, both passively and actively, through social norms, pop culture, our educational and legal systems, religious establishments, and familial influences and upbringing,” Artist Christy O’Connor said.
“My work focuses on my personal experience living within the confines of a female body, exploring sexuality, religion, and body image. The shared narratives of childbirth, menstruation, dysmorphia, sexual violation, and societal scrutiny all come into play and find connections with the viewers in their shared commonality,” Artist Dominique Vitali said.
“My textile works are hand-sewn, fabric based sculptural pieces made from recycled materials that have multiple uses as ritual talismans, wearables, ecstatic birth blankets, dreamcatchers, and traveling altars,” Artist Katie Cercone said.
“Discarded clothing is my paint. I give second chances to the worn, the damaged, the mistreated, the abandoned, the unwanted, and to myself. My emotional narrative portraits and figurative artworks examine the human condition through my own lived experience. The violence of cutting and deconstruction make way for the reconstruction and refashioning of a broken past,” Artist Linda Friedman Schmidt said.
“We are drawn to the grand gesture, the loud assured voice, the bold move, the aggressive brush stroke. I celebrate the opposite: the small moments in our lives – the unremarkable… as COVID-19 took over, some of the things I was celebrating became even more pertinent; toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer. These objects became signs of hope, of safety, of comfort.” Artist Melanie Fischer said.
For more information visit the exhibition website.