Released: September 20, 2010
Lincoln, Neb. - The Textile Society of America will be hosting the exhibition "Binary Fiction: Digital Weaving 2010" as part of their 12th Biennial Symposium. The exhibition will be displayed in the Eisentrager-Howard Art Gallery in Richards Hall from October 4-29, 2010. The symposium, taking place in Lincoln from October 6-9, is themed "Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space."
A reception will be hosted on October 7 from 6-8 pm. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 12-4 pm.
This is just one of the many exhibitions to be mounted in conjunction with the 12th Biennial TSA Symposium. With Cyber Space being part of the conference theme, these woven works featuring digitally related themes will be quite fitting.
The exhibition is being curated by Janice Lessman-Moss, and features works by Laurie Addis, Catharine Ellis, Gail Kenning, Chia-Hui Lu, Christy Matson, Melissa McCourtie, Vita Plume, Michael Radyk, Ismini Samanidou, Ruth Scheuing, Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, Synvia Whitney and Bhakti Ziek.
The title of the exhibition references the process of weaving itself, which is binary in nature: warps up or warps down. While this duality forms the basis of the process, the term binary is more familiar to many today because of its relationship to the language of computing. Binary suggests something concrete, while fiction implies a world of imaginative options. Although all of the artists are engaged in the logical system of weaving, the translation of any thought or action into woven or digital form involves invention, subjectivity, even fantasy. In curating the exhibition, I was looking for interesting work that not only revealed a deep understanding and sensitivity for the vocabulary of weaving and its structural and tactile properties, but represented a unique artistic voice.
Acknowledging the tradition of historic tapestry weavings in depicting timely narratives, Ruth Scheuing presents weavings that employ collages of photographic images and symbols that address her personal perspective on the mythologies surrounding the computer and the loom. Also building on historic roots, but with a distinctly different output, Australian artist Gail Kenning deconstructs basic basket weaves, which she then uses as the foundation for her computer programming codes. Her explorations result in the reconstruction of the original forms as digital animations in combination with new interpretations of woven objects.
The systematic language of weaving has a close correspondence to the algorithmic functions of the computer. Both Laurie Addis and Christy Matson elaborate on the iterative capabilities of both in their distinctive work. Addis?s painterly woven compositions contain delicate linear traces of traditional paisley motifs integrated with grounds loosely based on calculations of cellular automata. Matson creates woven planes of rhythmic geometric shapes, which have been computer generated and manipulated according to her specific input. In them she challenges the idea of musical notation as abstract pattern.
Pauline Verbeek-Cowart uses photo realism combined with a strong material sensibility to present a dramatic interpretatio of the surface of the moon, as the title of her large-scale diptych ?Luna? confirms. Tactility is the essence of the richly textured surface of the two-panel piece by Michael Radyk, composed of gently angled rows of shapes informed by his interest in architecture. Although Verbeek-Cowart and Radyck allude to macro-sized subjects, alternative interpretations of the microcosmic provide an engaging ambiguity. The manipulability of cloth is an asset that is sensitively engaged by Chia-Hui Lu in her poetic weavings. The folded plane of fabric deceptively contradicts the images that remain visually uninterrupted, implying a mysterious sense of illusion.
The physicality of fabric is also emphasized in the work of Catharine Ellis. Her large decorative fields of shibori-dyed pattern drape gracefully to the floor as they reinforce the sense of infinity implied by repeated motifs. Vita Plume also uses digitally enhanced shibori dye techniques to create a dynamic field from which highly emotive portraits emerge.
While several of the artists, exemplified by Bhakti Ziek, are recognized internationally for their significant contributions to the field of textiles, others, such as Ismini Samanidou, are emerging talents in the discipline. Two other emerging artists, Melissa McCourtie and Synvia Whitney, emphasize the integration of the hand and the machine by introducing unexpected materials into the structures of their woven surfaces. The transformation of these elements, newspaper and silver and gold tinsel ribbon, respectively, resulting from the mechanical manipulation and the touch of the artist adds an intriguing depth to the work.
All of the artists share a sophisticated understanding of the potential inherent in weaving and digitization, and are adept at using that skill and knowledge to realize their conceptual perspectives.
Written by Janice Lessman-Moss