Review by Cathy Breslaw
This comprehensive exhibition from California Fibers, a statewide organization, comprises 66 works from 22 southern California artists. The works speak both of tradition and wide-ranging contemporary artistic exploration. The works include weaving, basketry, sculpture, quilting, embroidery, felting, surface design, knitting, crochet, wearables and mixed media. At first glance we may be taken in by memories of childhood crafts and materials, but a closer look reveals not only well honed skill, but conceptual and narrative statements that refer to home, nature and contemporary issues. Michael Rohde’s hand dyed wool and natural dyes use geometry and color to weave beautifully crafted tapestries. Julie Kornblum uses the traditions of basket-making and weaving to create patterned colorful wall works that include both yarns and recycled plastic bags. An 8 foot wide, 15 foot long installation work called “Alterpiece” by Lynne Hodgeman uses crocheted light brown rayon thread to create an ephemeral work that has both a rhythmic and spiritual feel in its arrangement on the wall. Charlotte Bird’s ‘Small Wonders’, a large format quilt made of hand dyed commercial cotton, silk, polyester thread and machine stitched embroidery forms a circular pattern made up of varying sized circles and within those are organic shapes and patterns of colorfully stitched organic images. Susan Henry’s ‘Vortex’ , is made up of numerous triangular-shaped hand cut pieces of recycled men’s wool trousers to create a compelling wall work. These and many more works express the broad-ranging content and materials and increasingly expanded view of what comprises contemporary fiber.