HB381 presents a summer exhibition, a group show emphasizing the parallels between intensive hand crafts, traditional textile techniques, and ceramics. Recent works by Veera Kulju (Finnish, b. 1975), Marianne Huotari (Finnish, b. 1986), and Hanne G. (Danish, b. 1963) are to be included.
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Sewing, mending, stitching: all refer to “handicrafts” that have bred deep textile traditions and patterns for creation. The three featured artists pull on that history, transposing textile and handicraft techniques to the medium of ceramics, as they darn sculptures and glaze tapestries. By foregrounding repetitive and detail oriented practices, they each pause hectic daily life to invite in a therapeutic pace that centers creating by hand.
The hundreds of beads and medallions required in Marianne Huotari’s works pass individually through her fingers before they are sewn onto a metal frame with wire. The beads ruffle and layer at will, quilting themselves. Huotari references the Finnish textile technique of ryijy, meaning thick cloth, where a loom is used to weave tapestries featuring geometric shapes and florals. Colors traditionally ranged from gray and white, to red, yellow, green and blue once plant dyes were introduced. Her palate stays true to this precedent, while she continually experiments with materiality and composition.
Veera Kulju’s hand is evidenced through texture. Her collaboration with the clay begins with her fingers and ends with a thimble. Leaves pressed to the shape of her palm, pinholes created with the prongs of a fork, and clay pushed through a sieve, adorn the edges of her non reflective “mirror” series. The space created in between the details provides an opportunity to linger and reflect, to turn inwards. Intensive texture carries through to her larger vessels, whose porous sides are prickled with countless needle width indentations, citing the surface of coral.
Finally, Hanne G. has pioneered a process for freezing fabric to form grooved, ceramic-like textile sculptures. Viewed from afar, her wall works mirror topographical maps and satellite images. When seen closer up, the felted fabric mimics the curvature of stones and sand. An expert at crochet and embroidery, she meticulously works the wool through her fingers to help it build mass and find form. In Biocentric she crochets a base of wool and polyester before felting a final top layer of raw sheep’s wool. The whole shape is then coated with acrylic paints to achieve a lacquered, sculpted, finish. Her tactile involvement addresses the viewer’s natural sense of perception, head on and with humor.
In these artists we witness the adeptness and versatility of work done by hand. The final forms are engendered with humanist sensibilities that call to mind the usefulness of mending, of renewing what is already there.
Courtesy of HB381, New York