crystal city textile installation

 

details & descriptions

be fruitful and multiply

be fruitful and multiply came from a personal exploration of the heritage of my family and community. Historically, Jewish immigrants started out at the bottom of the textile industry, selling rags just to survive. Over time, this evolved into myriad successful businesses. This transition — from insecure subsistence to absolute abundance — has become a cycle. The rise of fast fashion and uninhibited consumerism has given rise to a new form of insecurity. Our culture has become so fruitful, has multiplied so excessively, that we’re now depleting the planet’s resources. 

Each panel reflects a different understanding of this narrative. In one, the fabrics are rich, plush, and luxurious; they are markers of wealth. The way they drape over edges and spill out beyond the frame symbolize excess. The embroidered silk brocade at the top is supporting this vision of prosperity, but openness of the following rows suggest that it can’t last forever. 

In the next, white rope stretches a densely knit center almost to its limit. The purple figure in the center is bound into an exquisite contortion that feels dangerous and beautiful at the same time; it honors the tension of economic insecurity without ignoring the beauty in survival.  

The last panel is a nod to landscape painting. The bands of color evoke the lines of a horizon and ask us to consider the ways in which our excessive consumption affect the earth.

 

escape from the edges of the dystopian

escape from the edges of the dystopian emerged amidst my angst over the currently accelerating rending of our basic human values. It is about adaptation and finding a safe space within an unforgiving environment. The majority of the materials in this installation are recycled — all of the fabric came from discarded clothing, often the cast offs of people I know. Clothing is a mode of shelter from the outside world, and repurposing it is a call to shelter natural resources from exhaustion. Each item of clothing has a story, and bringing them together to create something new is a way to restore community. The piece as a whole looks like a place a person might enter to find shelter — a reprieve from the profound threats which characterize our contemporary reality. 

 

far reaching

far reaching broadens the scope of the discussion around excess. It questions the extent of the consequences of this excess; unbridled consumption can become catastrophic. The shape of the piece and the way it moves on its supporting structure make it feel like a sail, rigged to a metal mast. This reference to movement, direction, and space reminds us to make active decisions about where we’re going and think about where our choices will take us.

 

peaceful transitions

peaceful transitions is an effort to create a sense of place and belonging. It responds to a tradition of rug making in an effort to bring a sense of home into this public space and ease the austerity of its surroundings. It softens the jarring transitions of a fragmented and broken society by making sense of this shattering, thoughtfully reassembling destruction into peaceful patterns. The subtle shifts in tone and texture are a way to make sense of unexpected juxtaposition; shades of gray bridge the gap between light and dark. Putting silks next to sweatshirts helps us find comfort in both.

 

the truth is buried

This work is truly mixed media, and therefore particularly demonstrative of the power of juxtaposition. Knitting, traditionally designated as domestic labor, is a way to democratize access to the art world, and placing textile art within and around painting is a way to ensure both are on equal footing.

The painting is a visual reference to landscapes and a thematic reference to fake news. We are awash in a sea of distortions — when truths are buried beneath a deluge of lies, it is near impossible to piece together a full picture of reality. The triangles of paper collaged into the canvas are remnants of words, representing the fragmentation of the truth and the effort it takes to compose a unified narrative amidst chaos. 

The geometry of the piece as a whole makes it an integral link between peaceful transitions and grappling with instability; stand close to the entrance of the lobby and notice how the fabric behind the truth is buried transforms into an arrow pointing in both directions. Keep moving backwards, and you can see that all three pieces have angles which eventually converge.

 

grappling with instability

grappling with instability deals again with juxtaposition as a source of conflict and of creation. We see surface textures better when they contrast with each other; the smooth, cold marble highlights the irregular softness of the fabric enveloping it. Draping a signifier of architectural stability — the pillar — in organic material makes it inviting and gives it emotional stability. The nature of the piece and the structure meant it had to be assembled nineteen feet off the ground, so the process of installation was literally unstable and constantly in flux in order to adapt to its environment. Although the piece is tethered to the ceiling, its strength and integrity ultimately comes from the way it’s attached to itself; each stitch supports the next.