Monday, January 12, 2009

The Importance of Scale

My friend Marci Senders is part of a wonderful exhibition of textile art at the Phoenix Gallery this month. The show is a called Economies Of Scale - a Juried exhibition of Miniature Works in Fiber by members of the Textile Study Group.

I attended the opening on Thursday night, getting there at the tail end of the gathering. On my way over, I ran into Marci and Daniel who had been there, done that. Of course I was running late, what else is new? And this place is a serious hike over to 11th Avenue, through throngs of Art Gallery Opening crowds everywhere. 25th Street was like a party atmosphere, all the lights blazing, clumps of artists and patrons grabbing quick smokes on the sidewalks, walking here and there.

This show was a real eye-opener for me. The whole idea of doing works in miniature hadn't crossed my mind. Well, duh! When I contemplate fiber related works, whether hanging or not, my mind conjures projects that lean toward the huge. I don't know why really. Maybe because all my past references into fiber art work have been very large and imposing. And my historical references are tapestries like the ones you see at the Cloisters. Everything large, everything hanging. My concepts have been to break out from those traditional approaches by altering the fibers, work with hand spun or hand dyed, modernize the narrative, etc.

So to see this show, where everything was done in miniature stopped me cold. I'd not thought of going small. Maybe I'd have come around to this on my own, in time, but going to the show just accelerated the possibilities. I loved the intimacy that you get by doing small items, things you have to view up close and personal. Many of the pieces were all about the textile, or all about the technique. Manipulations of fiber, materials, technique, that sort of thing. In my mind, some of them were academic because of that. Very nice, don't get me wrong and interesting to be sure and they provided some ideas for me to really chew on.

Marci's piece was one of the few representational pieces and one that also offered a narrative. Her piece tells a story, though it is an ambiguous one. I loved the sly, 'don't believe everything you see' message to her piece. This being one of the main themes in my life, I snorted in recognition! I loved that it was all at once this cuddly little bear and at the same time there is a sinister possibility of something else happening. Ah, don't make assumptions, friend, you just never know!

Marci's piece had so much going on, a text and subtext. Very clever. It stood out among a crowd of beautiful work as the one with the most to say.

At this point I must tell you I have no authority to speak as an art critic. So what I've just said above are merely my opinions after seeing and thinking about what I saw. I am no expert, just gut level response, folks.


Eliza said...

You are very observant. art critic, schmart critic. The show sounds wonderful. how long is it up?

Nettie said...

I love when something challenges my normal perception of things. I'm sure the show is great.

knithound brooklyn said...

The show runs from January 7 to 31.
Phoenix Gallery is at 210 Eleventh Avenue at 25th Street. There's an entrance on 25th Street.

marcisenders said...

Thank you so much for coming and the post. So glad you liked the piece and the show!