Art Week, Art Fairs, So much to see, So much to do. The Countdown is over and we are fully into the wing of things.
Constant Companion and I have distinct styles when we venture out to view art. His particular inquiring, investigative mind leads him to seek out motivatiosn; he engages gallerists and artists in in-depth conversations to build his understanding. I, on the other hand, slowly and quietly stroll through the aisles looking right and left, greeting those who greet me, stopping when something catches my eye, taking photos of artwork and people. This post will ramble along, somewhat in the style of how I ramble through the fairs. This was only day one!
The first fair we attended was Untitled, marking its tenth anniversary. One hundred and forty- five international galleries and organizations participated, showing contemporary art in an attempt to balance “intellectual integrity with cutting-edge experimentation”; just up CC’s alley. Here’s a view of the setting to get you into my casual frame of mind:
The first artworks we saw upon entering were three large textiles by Alvaro Gomez from the 1970s and 1980s. They took me back to a long ago previous life … Textiles have long been a part and love of my life. I learned to weave as part of an undergraduate degree of African Studies and Textiles under the guidance of Janet Taylor at Kent State University. Some years later, in my second museum job in Cleveland, I met Sara Mattsson Anliot, an amazing Swedish weaver who brought her craft to the US.
As I worked my way through the plentiful art on offer, I found my eyes attracted to more and more textiles and fiber art.
But first, CC and I stopped to take part in a performative art, El billetaje quemando la calle/Bills Burning the Street, staged by Coco Fusco and Janet Batet.
To quote the website, “This performance brings to life a proposal that imprisoned Cuban artist Hamlet Lavastida made to stamp Cuban currency with the logos of 27N and the San Isidro Movement, as well as declarations in favor of free expression and civil liberties for all Cubans. The idea is to create an artwork-as-messaging-system that travels the routes of everyday communicative and commercial exchange, landing in the hands of unexpecting participants.”
The project was initiated by Marco Castillo, Leandro Feal and Kiko Faxas at ARCO Madrid.
The intricate workmanship and sheer beauty of the quilts by Michael C. Thorpe (http://michaelcthorpe.com/) stood out loud and clear. I was drawn in by the pictures he constructed out of pieces of fabric and the intricate patterns drawn by his stitchwork. The gracefulness of the Asian imagery of these pieces also spoke to me.
From weaving to quilting to embroidery, so many techniques represented at the fair. The Asian imagery of Dana Weiser drew me in (https://artandcakela.com/2018/01/25/studio-visit-with-dana-weiser-the-accidental-tourist/), Much of her imagery is drawn from Korea, a country I’ve been fortunate to get to know in the recent past.
Sharon Kerry-Harlan (https://www.sharonkerryharlan.com/home) vividly brings to life the coral that surrounds our real environment. On the other hand, does the white piece represent the bleaching faced by too much coral around the world?
Dreamcatchers, whether imported from China or actually made by a Native American person, have caught the imagination of many people, young and old. Perhaps they can be considered a textile art, fibers are woven together to create a web into which dreams will be trapped.
This one by Brandon J. Donahue (https://brandonjaquezdonahue.com/home.html), who plays with assemblages, is decidedly not representative of textiles, but should we say derivative?
The work of Raymond Saá (https://www.raymondsaa.com/) combines two crafts with which I’ve dabbled – textiles and collage. The seemingly random colors and shapes of his collages using canvas also drew me in.
Another exhibit of quilting caught my eye as I was completing my cycle of the fair. Jason Williford (https://www.galleriurbane.com/jason-willaford) uses painted vinyl as his medium to create visual images.
Mosaics and collages also caught my eye along the way during my ramble: the mosaics by Summer Wheat (https://summerwheat.com/) and collages by Della Wells (https://www.portraitsocietygallery.com/dellawells). These are two media which I noodle around with. Don’t let the image of the mosaic fool you; this piece is large enough to sit on.
Two small figures from Eden Airlines, a gallery in Richmond, caught my eye. As the gallerists stood chatting nearby, the gallery assistant told me briefly that they were South African (I think). I was so taken aback because they are clearly reinterpretations of kachinas. No information about the artist; a quick internet search revealed they are the Great Value works by Dylan Languell (https://www.dylanlanguell.com/blog), an artist living and working in Richmond.
Finally … somehow I missed the amazing works by Kira Dominguez Hultgren (https://www.kiradominguezhultgren.com/) on display at the Eleanor Harwood Gallery booth. Of course, this was one of the many stops CC made in his inimitable way through the fair. Like many other folklore students interested in textile traditions, I was introduced to the outstanding Indiana coverlets woven by itinerant weavers on jacquard looms in the 19th century. These looms were proto computers that allowed weavers to create intricate patterns, and leave their signatures in their works. Hultgren works on a jacquard loom to create her message-filled works. Thank you CC for catching what I missed!