In 2011 I had the opportunity to serve as juror for the Inaugural year of Textiles In A Tube. The show is held at the Riverworks Gallery in Greenville, SC which is part of Greenville Technical College. It was a great experience seeing how artists approached and interpreted the guidelines for the show.
The juror this year was Kathleen Loomis of Louisville, KY. Kathy has been involved with quilts for a number of years and has demonstrated her interest in stretching that concept with her recent "postage stamp" series. I'm sure she enjoyed reviewing and selecting the broad range of entries that came in for this year's show. Kathy has written a series of articles about the work on her blog: Art With A Needle. Kathy has a great love of text and made the sign pictured above.
This show challenges artists to "redefine" what textiles and textile materials and work can be. I want to feature four participants I felt took that challenge to heart.
Textiled by Shelley Brenner Baird
Shelley Brenner Baird lives in Columbus, Ohio and is one of several artists whose work has been selected for this show twice. Shelley REALLY took on the challenge of what could actually go into the specified tube and created a work composed of 1008 circles cut from her printed and dyed fabrics. The work was carefully mounted on the wall in a grid pattern as planned by her. I understand that it took the gallery director and 2 assistants a total of about 20 hours to install this work.
Detail 1 - Textiled
It's a fabulous piece. It is very much inline with issues of concern to Shelley and totally within the guidelines of the show. Who would have thought that a work coming from a 36" x 3" tube could be so imposing. Who....Shelley.
Detail 2 - Textiled
The evening we went to see the show I spent some time sitting at a table outside the gallery. The front of the gallery is all glass so you have a good view of the interior. All I could look at was Textiled. The scale of the piece combined with the multi-colored disk completely dominated the space. This was partly because of the way the piece wrapped around one corner of the gallery wall. I've only seen this sort of size disparity in one other show and that was the one Visions show I attended in California.
In the case of that show, the piece was Bonne Nuit by Wendeanna Stitt and it was 84" x 195". The gallery space was very packed. This work was installed on one entire wall in the entrance and from that vantage totally commanded the show. This was in truth the only place to install that work where visitors could have even began to see the other pieces in the show.
Do not take these comments as criticism of the artists. Both works were within the guidelines but it does serve to show that in many cases "size does etc." The good news is that Textiled and Bonne Nuit were each worthy of the spaces they inhabited.
Three other pieces that I felt were unique and interesting were created by Susan Lenz, Jennifer Crenshaw and Christine Mauersberger. Each of their works were pieces I would love to see executed on a much larger scale.
Metallic Blossom by Jennifer Crenshaw
I am not familiar with Jennifer's work and have not been able to find more of her art online. This piece is machine embrodiery on (I think) a dissolving substrait. It is a great use of the process but at this scale has the feeling of being only a part of something much larger.
Detail - Metallic Blossom
I think it is important to say that I don't think ALL work must be large to be good, important, successful etc. However there is always the element of size and scale relationships which will have their say. Of course I did not see how this fit inside the tube so perhaps there was no room for more.
Flow by Christine Mauersberger
I was happy to see Flow by Christine Mauersberger as I had just recently seen pictures of a much larger installation of work by her in the same materials and concept. The work is rendered in thread, rubylith film and tulle. It was installed near the door of the gallery and responded to each opening and closing of the door and all movements of the visitors. Unfortunately it was difficult to really see the piece without seeing the work installed next to it so I didn't feel I had the full experience.
Detail - Flow
I would have enjoyed seeing a larger version of this installation. This is an excellent exploration and I hope Christine will continue with this idea.
The last piece I want to mention is by Susan Lenz of Columbia, SC. Susan had 3 pieces in last year's show featuring collapsable baskets with all sorts of objects she constructed and were pedestal pieces. This year's piece is made for installation on the wall and AGAIN, my personal feeling is that I would love to see it larger. The work is multimedia and has many delicate details to enjoy.
Five by Susan Lenz
The title of the piece is Five and it has 5 squares. I'd love to see 50 of these units. But then again, I don't think 50 would fit into the tube.
Detail - Five
The label for this piece now sports a large red circle as it was purchased on the first day the show opened! Congratulations Susan.
I'm sending a big thanks to Flemming Market and Greenville Tec for the great job they have done with this concept and hope they continue to sponsor the show. I continue to be very excited about both the show and the concept. It features work we don't see a great deal of in my area and I'm hoping it encourages artists to look at their work and see new directions and opportunities for creative expression.
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