The Sunday before last, I went out to the Legion of Honor to walk around and to see the Artwear Exhibit they have there. The day was absolutely gorgeous, with stunning views of downtown and Marin. I really should make it out there more often. The exhibit was good, but rather small -- I went through once with a docent who was giving an hourly tour, and then again by myself. Her stories and commentary was interesting, but somehow a bit off. For one thing, she skipped over virtually all of the knit and crochet pieces, which were my main reason for wanting to see the exhibit. Oh well. At least I got to examine them at my own pace I went back around.
Last night, I finally got around to reading the show catalog (Artwear: Fashion and Anti-Fashion by Melissa Leventon). The book is a good summary of the exhibit, as well as an overview of the artwear movement in the US, but I would have liked more detail on some of the artists and their techniques. My favorite artwear/fiber arts books are still The Fiberarts Book of Wearable Art by Katherine Duncan Aimone and Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, both of which focus more on the artists.
My favorite pieces in the Artwear catalog are:
- Oaks (1988) by Tim Harding - A large kimono with an amazing landscape created by slashing and fraying multiple layers of fabric. It never occurred to me that reverse applique could be this complex.
- (1975) by Dina Knapp - A beautiful quilted red, black, and yellow kimono with interlinking, sinuous strips of crochet winding around the front and back.
- Helen's Hat (1985) by Arline Fisch - A wonderful hat made from machine-knit copper wire.
- Mermaid Dress (1999) by Genevieve Dion - A stunning dark silk dress created using shibori techniques.
- Rain Coat: San Francisco Bay (1999) by Jean Williams Cacicedo - The "rain" refers to pierced holes all over this great purple felted coat. The edges of the coat show dark silhouettes of San Francisco landmarks.
- Sit on It (1980) and Headdress II (1975) by Norma Minkowitz - These amazing hats are crocheted using a very thin yarn (I would never have the patience to do anything like them!). My favorite of the two is covered with organic trumpet-like shapes, and has crocheted curls coming down on both sides.
- Aflame (2002) by Thomas Horst - Wow. Felting taken to a whole new level! This ball gown is entirely felted, with three-dimensional flame-like tongues covering the entire skirt and popping up from the top of the bodice.
- Inspiration of Falling Woods (2000) and Deep, Dark Leaves (1999) by Jeung-Hwa Park - I was delighted to see samples of her felted knit scarves in person. I'd been seeking out pictures of her work ever since I read about her in Interweave Knits a couple years ago. The combination of felting with subtle dyeing is really gorgeous.
Now that I've had a chance to read the book, as well as do some quick Google searches on some of the artists, I will definitely need to go back for another look.