The Craft Revival Continues in “New Weave,” a Vibrant Fiber Show at The Southern

Aug 16, 2016 10:59PM

You’re not alone if you consider weaving to be a traditional craft rather than a contemporary art form. Weaving in its various forms has been around for roughly 12,000 years, and while there’s often an aesthetic component, its primary function is practical.

Yet, as the craft revival continues, a trio of modern fiber artists challenges that demarcation. “New Weave,” a group show at The Southern in Charleston, South Carolina, features textile works that are colorful and whimsical, asymmetrical and avant-garde—more like paintings or sculptures than what you might think of as textiles.

For instance, Judit Just’s aptly titled Furry Seascape n.2 (2016) is a textural waterfall of blue, green, and purple. Loose strands of yarn hang off the lower edge of a tapestry made of handwoven silk ribbon and wool. Meanwhile, Camela Guevara’s To the Side (2016) has a neater, simpler composition, as does Kristy Bishop’s Untitled (2016). Nevertheless, streams of thread often drip from their compositions as well.

Each of the three artists approaches the age-old medium in a fresh way. Bishop sources materials from gardens and grocery stores, using onion skins, avocado peels, walnut shells, eucalyptus, marigolds, and wild fennel to create her own natural fiber dyes, which she then mixes with synthetic materials like metallic and paper yarn.

Just, who’s originally from Barcelona, is a former fashion student and current master in the manual techniques behind textile art, from dyes and fabrics to embroidery. Guevara, in turn, takes a creative cue from her background as a seamstress. Inspired by the over-the-top fashion of professional figure skating, her work revels in an enjoyable degree of gaudiness.

To be sure, none of these pieces are meant to be worn or, god forbid, sat upon. Instead, “New Weave”—a clever play on words—represents the new wave in a creative pursuit that’s been continuously evolving for thousands of years, even if its standing in the fine art world is comparatively young.

—Bridget Gleeson

New Weave” is on view at The Southern, Charleston, South Carolina, Jul. 29–Sep. 4, 2016.

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