December 13, 2016
Today I was able to got to the Shepard Gallery and see the installation titled FABRICation. Fabrication is an installation that features seven artists that incorporate a textile sensibility through elements of fabric and fabrication. These artists were inspired by a rich array of historical textiles; these complex multi-part constructions are encoded by traditional handicraft to contrast our culture’s rampant media consumption with the redemptive nuance of slow work wrought by hand. The pieces that I found most interesting were from Susan Iverson and Eric Castellan. Susan Iverson is a recently retired professor from the Craft/Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and Eric Castellan is an independent artist who lives and works in Asheville, NC. By combining found, fabricated, and painted materials, Castellan creates hybrid work that drapes off the wall.
Iverson’s work that I’ll be discussing is titled Beyond. Beyond is a tapestry made from wool and silk that was made in 2012. The piece itself consists of three tapestries all hung up next to each other side by side. At first glance these tapestry’s reminded me of feathers, which is particularly why I was drawn to them. Feathers are objects that appear in many of my own doodles and drawings so as you can see I favor them. Apart from being beautiful they’re not identical, they almost seem to be identical until further inspection. The simplicity of the colors and the way this piece is presented makes it seem very complete, as well as organized. The fact that it’s level and even all around the tapestry really makes my OCD happy. The color scheme of the work is important to notice as well. Many of the other pieces throughout the gallery had really eccentric colors that pop out at you but these colors are warming and calm. Which allows the spectator to stand by the work for longer and truly analyze it.
Contrasting Iverson’s work Castellan’s piece titled Hang was a little different. Hang is a work that was done in 2011 and consists of fabric with thread and acrylic and latex paint all over it. This is a really busy piece that required a lot of time to try and figure out what it meant or to even try and come up with a description. After starring at the work I finally came to the conclusion that the main subject is a dancer. The fabric that is hanging off is a skirt and she is doing Polynesian dance. the background seems to have beams running across the ceiling, with some sort of ribbon or steamers running across it. After coming to this conclusion I really enjoyed this piece more and more, it even started to become less busy and more clear.
At a first glance both of these works sit on opposite sides of the neat scale, yet they both seem to work hand in hand. Its almost like a family not everyone can be normal otherwise it just seems weird that’s why you have that crazy uncle that holds more than meets the eye.