Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kaneko: FIBER

I became interested in Kaneko because the American Tapestry Biennial 10 is hanging there right now. But two things really convinced me to drive the 500 miles from Colorado to Omaha. (1) Dr. Jessica Hemmings was giving a lecture about her new book and exhibition, Cultural Threads and (2) there were five other fiber shows there. Neither the lecture or the other shows disappointed.

I wrote about the ATB10 show at Kaneko here: Kaneko: the tapestry of ATB10

This is an astounding display of Hawaiian shirts which serves to highlight the bright designs of fabric designers. I loved just walking among these shirts. It was mesmerizing.
Florabunda exhibit, The Kaneko
Florabunda exhibit, The Kaneko
Fabric of Survival
This was a stunning exhibit about the Holocaust. It was a large gallery packed with large-scale embroideries which told the story of the creator, Esther Nisenthal Krinitz's life. It was so incredible I didn't take a single photo.

Fiber Legends
This was the show that really engaged me. The amazing skill in Jon Eric Riis' work is something you have to see in person. These pieces all used metallic threads in a wide range of colors. When you go to see ATB10, make sure to leave a large chunk of time to study this work.
This installation conveys the different way in which fiber art conveys movement, captures and transmits culture, and functions as fine art through the works of Nick Cave, Sheila Hicks, and Jon Eric Riis.          --Fiber Legends statement
Sheila Hicks, Menhir II, 1965-1985, cotton, linen, wool; hand-wrapped, spliced. Each of 23: 152" x 2"-12" diameter.
Sheila Hicks, Menhir II, detail
Nick Cave, Untitled Soundsuit, 2008, mixed media with mannequin, 100 x 25 x 14 inches
And here is Jon Eric Riis. I have only seen a few of his pieces in person and it was mesmerizing to look at the play of the metallic threads in the light. There were 9 large-scale works in this show by Riis. All very different, all incredible.
Jon Eric Riis, Ancestor's Tapestry, handwoven silk and metallic thread, gold glass beads, 42 x 75 inches
Jon Eric Riis, Ancestor's Tapestry detail
Jon Eric Riis, Young Icarus Tapestry (diptych), handwoven silk and metallic thread, 32 x 72 inches each
Jon Eric Riis, Young Icarus Tapestry (detail)
Jon Eric Riis, Young Icarus Tapestry (detail)
Jon Eric Riis, Multicolored Tapestry Skull Coat, handwoven metallic thread, leather, freshwater pearls, black agate beads, and coral, 34 x 66 inches
Jon Eric Riis, Multicolored Tapestry Skull Coat (detail)
Jon Eric Riis, Neo Classical Male Tapestry, tapestry woven silk and metallic thread, Swarovski crystal beads, 52 x 68 inches (left), and Icarus II, Tapestry woven silk and metallic thread, crystal beads, 56 x 158 inches (right)
Jon Eric Riis, Icarus II (detail)
There was also a large exhibit called Global Threads which included the work of Yoshiko Wada, Jessica Hemmings, Mary Zicafoose and Susan Knight. The largest part of this exhibit were the kimonos of Yoshiko Wada. They were exquisite, varied, and I took no photos of them.

Dr. Jessica Hemmings was the juror for ATB10 and she also had a part in this exhibit.
Jessica Hemmings, the renowned textile scholar, explores contemporary textiles and their relationship with postcolonial culture. Hemmings’ exhibition “explores the interrelationship between craft, art, design and contemporary culture” by focusing on examples of contemporary textiles produced by designers, artists and makers that communicate postcolonial thinking.                     --Kaneko's website
Her fascinating talk, Cultural Threads: transnational textiles today, prompted me to order her new book of the same name as soon as I got back to the hotel. She talked about the relationship between language and object with many fascinating examples about objects and their meaning. She talked about the meanings attached to textiles and how they are portable objects and thus pick up meaning around the world.
curated Jessica Hemmings, Cultural Threads
As I walked into the museum, the first piece I saw was this large work by Mary Zicafoose. As you'll see in the video linked below, she had a huge part to play in getting this fiber show together. It was nice to be welcomed by this tapestry. Watch for my next blog post about her solo show also currently in Omaha.
Mary Zicafoose, Fields of Desire, weft-faced ikat tapestry, dyed, wrapped & woven wool on linen warp.
Here is a post from Omaha's local news station with a nice video about the show (Click link in blue).


  1. Amazing work all of it......those feathers have me mesmerized! How do you finished the edges to keep them from un raveling!??

    1. Great question. I don't know how he did it... lots of work with a needle would be my guess. (as in the warp is sewn back into the weft for each warp thread).

  2. Stunning! Thank you for taking these wonderful photos and providing us with a glimpse. Wow.

  3. So great to see all the exhibits here on your blog... So much color and texture. I have to confess that my first thought was, 'Wow! It's probably a good thing that I didn't go.' I'm so exhausted by all our family stuff, I think these exhibits would have overwhelmed me! But I'm really glad I can absorb them in small occasional bites on your blog. Thanks!