Contemporary textiles at the Salina Art Center – KC STUDIO
“Weather the Weather / Whatever the Weather” by Casey Whittier (2018), in terracotta and steel, 46 x 38 x 46 in., Is part of the “Contemporary Textile” exhibition at the Salina Art Center until October 3 . (photo by Brandon Forrest Frederick / artist)
Contemporary Textiles ”, the inaugural exhibition by the new curator of the Salina Art Center, Jefferson Godard, continues the dialogue initiated by former curator Gretchen Boyum, who proposed the initial concept for the exhibition. It also continues the centre’s tradition of including Kansas City artists in its exhibitions and programs.
Examining a wide range of fiber art, including hand weaving, quilting, computer jacquard weaving, and installation, the exhibit features work by Kansas City artists Kim Eichler-Messmer, Rachelle Gardner -Roe, Jason Pollen, Casey Whittier and Jillian Youngbird. Their work joins pieces from several Salina-based quilters, a digital / hand weaving from Oregon-based artist Eugene, Jovencio de la Paz, and handweaves (with a poem) from Chicago-based kg.
“The art of fiber is one of my passions,” Godard said in a recent email, “having lived in Chicago and being so enamored with the practices of established artists such as Anne Wilson and Nick Cave, alongside new voices like kg.
The 13 artists of “Contemporary Textile” use a range of techniques and materials. In addition to thread and fabric, beads are appearing, as well as found objects, twigs and ceramics, as seen in “Weather the Weather / Whatever the Weather” by Casey Whittier (2018). The piece is made of terracotta links using chain mail techniques that make it fragile, chosen by the artist to increase the feeling of tension in the work.
“I chose the umbrella because that shape has always symbolized for me a thin or false sense of security against the elements,” said Whittier. “It mediates our experience and gives us the confidence to leave the house, but it just takes a good wind or a bad placement or holding it slightly at the wrong angle to end up wet and wear something wet.”
Whittier cites as inspiration a tongue twister she was taught as a child:
Let the weather be nice,
Or that there is no time,
Let it be cold
Or if it’s hot.
We will stand the test of time,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we want it or not !
“In the face of climate change, I wonder what it means to teach the next generation that we can just ‘Let the weather be,’ Whittier said.
“I’m still an artist who consumes and works directly with materials taken from the earth, produces more waste than is sustainable, and travels frequently for a living,” she admits. “I grapple with both the beauty of the hopeful proclamation that we are going to ‘Let the weather be’ and the deep fear that it may not be true. . . and that I will have contributed to a more tumultuous and fragile climate future for the next generation.
“Contemporary Textile” opened on August 11 and runs through October 3 at the Salina Art Center, 242 S. Santa Fe, Salina. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday and by appointment. Free entry. For more information, 785.827.1431 or www.salinaartcenter.org.