Curatorial Statement

by Nisha Drinkard

“Crossing the Line: Wearables to Unwearables” explores the boundaries of fiber art from Fine art wearables to the unwearable. The viewer is invited to make up his or her own mind about what can be worn on the human body. The artwork in the show ranges in a variety of art forms, concepts, and media. The show crosses the line in many ways including the functionality of the work and the transformation of the artwork into book, installation, performance, and sculptural art forms. The works take new forms for embellishing the body and using the wearable form to discuss issues of identity and self-protection. This process of decorating the body moves the work away from functionality to high art.

Artists in the show are Kathy Bruce, Kate Cusack, Caroline Gibson, Erica Spitzer Rasmussen, Maryann Riker, Heather Sincavage, and Yonsenia White. Kathy Bruce’s sculptural work on display show one view but during a performance the garment unfolds revealing new secrets about the work as the garment moves through space. Kate Cusack uses household items to create her work; sponges become a dress and saran wrap a dress. Caroline Gibson says “Life is an affair of putting on and taking off cloths.” She uses tarpaper and window screening to create work that talks about personal appearance. Erica Spitzer Rasmussen tell us “My sculptural work is often inspired by childhood myths or adult anxieties regarding my body.” She uses non-archival materials in her work, tomatoes, dog hair, spent tea bags to name a few. Maryann Riker creates books that are wearable bracelets and belts made from natural object and buttons. Heather Sincavage explores questions of identity and struggles of everyday living from the notion of being “female” to being simply “individual” or “self”. She uses tracing paper coated in sugar, coffee, and rust. Yonsenia White writes “Eurocentric ideals of beauty, femininity, and female sexuality that fuel mainstream constructs of identity and desire have affected me since childhood.” For the show her work is white commercial made shirts onto which she added safety pins and locks of blond hair.

When does the piece lose it functionality and become unwearable? Does the work operate on two or more levels where it is functional and non-functional at the same time? All of these questions and more are asked in this show but never completely answered. The work has a Fiber art quality through the use of everyday ignored objects, and the repetition of elements with in the work. As the curator I was extremely attracted the use of emphermal materials used by the artists in this show. The Fibers field is a very exciting and cutting edge medium that invites artists to use sponges, human hair, gut, coffee filters, sugar, and other unusual materials to create art work.

View Selected Works From The Show