Art Spiel Picks: Chelsea Exhibitions for July 2024

Crossings, partial Installation view at Kasmin, photo by Etty Yaniv

Chelsea has multiple exciting shows this summer, ranging from large group shows to solo retrospectives. We will highlight three shows with different curatorial premises. The Swimmer, a large-scale group show sprawling over the 9th and 10th floors of the FLAG Art Foundation, centers around the narrative of John Cheever’s short story from 1964, presenting works that dig into its themes and imagery. Another impressive large-scale group show surveys the increasing presence of weaving, textiles, and embroidery in contemporary art, featuring an international and intergenerational group of artists whose works push the boundaries of these traditional mediums. Lastly, at Pretzel, there is a beautifully curated retrospective of Malcolm Morley, offering a glimpse into the fascinating work of the late artist (1931–2018).

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Dreams of a Common Language: Elizabeth Duffy, Lu Heintz, and Anna McNeary In OVERLAP

Liz Maynard

Installation View: Left to Right Lu Heintz, Everything is Fiber: A New Lexicon, 2024 Graphite on paper Elizabeth Duffy Wearing / Ceremonial Costume for Gathering Rehill (1904-1972), 2023-2024, Unraveled worn braided rugs made into clothing, braided rug poncho with corn-on-the-cob holders, copper dandelion leaves, copper formed shoes, rug remnant; Anna McNeary, Common Set, 2024 Fabric, velcro, wooden rack Dimensions variable

The rhymes, homophones, and translations between the work of Elizabeth Duffy, Lu Heintz, and Anna McNeary are object manifestations of “Dreams of a Common Language.” The exhibition at Overlap Gallery in Newport, RI, offers up sweet and salty juxtapositions of textile, prints, sculptures, and installations of Providence-based artists. It takes its title from Adrienne Rich’s 1976 volume of poetry, which ruminates on the possibilities of life liberated from patriarchal constraints and the feminist community emerging from speech in common. Duffy, Heintz, and McNeary explore textile not just as a shared (and often gendered) medium but as a conceptual framework.

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Linda Sok: Biomythorgraphies

In Dialogue
My grandmother with a bird, 2021, silk, cotton, salt, ink, wood, 80 x 70 inches, image courtesy the artist.

Linda Sok uses in her fiber-based sculptures elaborate dyeing techniques practiced throughout Asia and imagery of her family she receives through social media to convey narratives of migration and cross-cultural pollination. Linda Sok is a second-generation descendant of survivors of the Khmer Rouge Regime, a genocidal period in Cambodia’s history that forced her family to flee Cambodia. By accessing fragments of Cambodia’s traumatic past, she attempts to recontextualize lost traditions and culture to allow living descendants to process the history through a contemporary lens.

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Tina Struthers: Life in Fiber

Tina Marais Struthers, studio in Montreal, 2020, Photo courtesy of Josiane Farand

Tina Marais Struthers’ work develops from a rigorous, personal, and highly technical consideration of fiber as an evocative medium deftly addressing subjective experience, memories of place, and processes of change and growth. Struthers says she is fascinated by how fabric reflects and absorbs light, how it can entice us to touch, and feel comfort, or discomfort, by visual directing textures—”In this world during the pandemic, this need to touch, to feel textural comfort I think has really been amplified. I often challenge the notion of textile as being soft, in manipulating it to appear as metal sculptural forms.”

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Amy Butowicz: Boudoir Theatre at Peninsula Art Space

In Dialogue with Eric Fallen, Founder and Executive Director

A room full of furniture

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Duet, 2020 76.5”h x 84”w x 53”d Canvas, acrylic paint, wood, furniture parts, wheels, and hinges

Amy Butowicz solo show Boudoir Theatre at Peninsula Art Space features a collection of domestically scaled sculptures staged as a group of characters which are readily associated with notions of sensuality, ornamentation, and haute couture. Bulging cushion-like forms, meticulously hand-stitched over wooden structures, display intricate patterns and rich material suggestive of bedding, vanities, corsets and human anatomy. Bold and tender simultaneously, these anthropomorphic forms defy the disdain and fear that are frequently imposed upon feminine artforms, spaces, and bodies. Eric Fallen, founder and executive director of the Red Hook based Peninsula Art Space elaborates on Amy Butowicz’s exhibition and on his art venue.

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Pablo Garcia Lopez – Fibrous Neuroplasticity

Brainvolution 1, natural silk, PLA filament (3D printing) and fabric. Shadow Box (plexiglass covered) 48x29x7 inches, 2019

The Spanish born, New York based artist Pablo Garcia Lopez makes mixed media reliefs and sculptures which evoke hybrid forms resonating with Baroque imagery, biological forms, and at times Victorian delicate ornaments. His Spanish heritage, coupled with his background in biochemistry and Neuroscience largely inform his visual vocabulary and themes.

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Artists on Coping: Elin Noble

During the coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

Working in the studio, March 2020. Photo by Lasse Antonsen

Elin Noble is a nationally and internationally known textile artist and dyer, living in New Bedford Massachusetts. She has spent more than 30 years investigating traditional and contemporary dye techniques, focusing in particular on Japanese itajime shibori (clamp-dye resist). She has lectured and conducted workshops in North America and internationally, most recently in the Netherlands, Hungary, and Japan. Elin has been included in numerous group exhibitions and has had one-person exhibitions at the Schweinfurth Art Center, New York; New Bedford Art Museum, Massachusetts; The Textile Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Visions Art Museum, California; and the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum, Washington.

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Mary Tooley Parker – The Process of Making

Mary Tooley Parker, Back Room, 2019, textile, 48×33 inches, photo by the artist

Mary Tooley Parker ‘s fiber artworks pay a warm homage to folk art – throughout her recurrent themes and elaborate process. Her fascination with all things fiber –
weaving, knitting, quilting, rug hooking – started from an early age and she has continued honing her skills and color sensibility ever since. The artist shares with Art Spiel what draws her to fiber art, her process, and the ideas behind her work.

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