Un-weaving the image

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Curatorial Statement:

Un-weaving the image” is an exhibition that explores the relationship between the textile as material and the projection as digital reproduction of designed images and technology. The title of this exhibition indicates the very relationship it is attempting to unravel: teasing out the artisan’s claim over the textile, and insinuating new technology (video, computerized design, digital screen printing) into the artistic process. We attempted to enter this dialogue between material and projection by engaging works that presents three conceptualizations of surface: the projected surface, the physical surface, and the overlaid print surface.

Positing that the digital is in fact the new materiality demands a review of the divide between what is digitally produced and what is handmade.  Audrey Pondek’s work deals with the direct unified manifestation of digital imaging and textile: the digital print. In “Quarry Wall,” designs aren’t woven into material, but are digitally rendered and printed onto material.  Annika Finne’s “Projected” demonstrates the unique synthesis of digital image and material form through the projected image, anchoring itself in image rather than material. In addition to Elsinore Smidth-Carabetta’s interpretation of landscape through digitally rendered color fields in “Projected Landscapes,” the exhibition’s works demonstrate that the exhibition’s tension is not merely the co-presence of virtual and material, digital and natural, but rather their codependence within the artistic process.

When the virtual and the digital intersect with the materials and forms of the hand made, the craft, our own experience of the objects and works is expanded. In Smidth-Carabetta’s “Felt,” in which a material object is presented with the digital print, the space between illusion, and absence is explored by placing digital representations of texture in direct confrontation with the textured material itself.  By both satisfying and rejecting our desire to touch, Smidth-Carabetta speaks to one of the central questions surrounding the digital/virtual immersion into artistic process: What is tangible to the viewer?

The interweaving of material and digital image within the exhibition demonstrates both digital technology’s innovation and potential for temporal and sensorial affect, as well as textiles emergence into the post-modern realm of mixed media art. The artists in this exhibition use digital technology in tandem with natural materials and subjects yielding a new artistic direction that complicates textile’s status as a craft that is primarily hand-wrought and analog. Where does art’s potency lie? In its concept or in the physical object? In the work of the hand or the potential of the machine? Or, as this exhibition posits, in the interweaving between both?

-curated by Ana Cecilia Alvarez and Olivia-Jene Fagon

Works 

Quarry Wall
Audrey Pondek
Digital print on silk dupioni
6’ x 6’

 In “Quarry Wall” a two paneled digitally printed collage, Pondek’s marks reference the monumental eeriness of stone quarries, placing her work at the intersect between the digital surface and a natural facade. Through this nuanced merging of high-tech digital printing and Pondek’s handwork, the artist puts the imagined surface of the quarry and the material surface of the silk as two binaries in conversation through digital translation.  This exploration into pattern, and surface functions as a reconstruction of the quarry’s natural forms: its rough variance, and jagged hues of sand, stone, and mineral interpreted and materialized into Pondek’s digitally rendered marks of pink, blue, yellow and brown 
 

Projection
Annika Finne
Digital image projected onto poly-blend organza

In this marrying of computer imagery, graphic design, and textile technique, Finne’s projections explore the ambiguity of the digital: its material absence but visible rendering. Finne’s use of these images demonstrates how placing patterning over opaque imagery or colors renders the partially obscured images more enigmatic and beautiful. This placement of scanned patterning from physical fabric over digital images of both material and natural subjects is then compounded by projecting the image onto blank drapery.  Running the images on a continual loop, the piece speaks to the transitory and nomadic culture of the digital age - the web, the virtual, browsing, surfing, screen shot, snap shot.  
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Felt
Elsinore Smidth-Carabetta
Digital print on silk lycra, wool, mohair
30” x 44”

Smidth-Carabetta’s “Felt” focuses on the translations and transformations of traditional textile materials and techniques using the sensibilities of her own individual material and technical language.  The felted necklace piece simultaneously appears against the foreground and disappears into its pattern, a sensorial affect that demonstrates a relation in flux. Her screen-printing and object-making both employ a subtle gradient in color that allows both pieces to be read as one, yet the piece also employs a certain visual dissonance made by the panels illusion of real felt. Carabetta’s double gesture of both revealed illusion and tangible affect demonstrates that textile’s material language is still very much linked to the tactile sensation of the artist or viewer moving their fingers over the fabric itself. 
 
Projected Landscapes
Elsinore Smidth-Carabetta
Digital print on organza
4’ x 3’

In “Transparent Landscape,” the technology of digital screen-printing is integral to both the conception and process of making implied by the piece itself. Smidth-Carabetta’s abstract digital traces of horizon, foreground, land and sky are investigations into both color and pattern. The fabric’s thin transparency, scale, and layered color fields create a virtually rendered but naturally existing environment.
 
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