Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The ikat tapestry of Mary Zicafoose and her solo show, Color Fields

I was able to see Mary Zicafoose's new show, Color Fields: selected works by Mary Zicafoose while in Omaha. In fact I was so excited to see it that I went a day early. The show didn't open until March 6th. I might have gotten some nose-prints on the gallery windows, but what I saw told me I had to come back.

A day and at least one Chipotle stop later, I returned to find the gallery all lit up, the doors open, and a welcoming student manning the desk. The show is a wonderful mix of her tapestries and monoprints.
Monoprints, ikat tapestries, and carpet by Mary Zicafoose
Mary Zicafoose is a Nebraska artist. Here is some of her artist statement from the show:
Like all artists, I have many stories to tell and I am as compelled to weave tapestries based on symbols of identity as I am to record the line where the earth meets the sky in the Nebraska landscape. The work within this exhibition represents several different series of tapestries, carpets, and prints spanning the last decade. New Dreams, Ancient Texts, Blue Prints, Sun Signs, Grasslands, and Mountain for the Buddha, are the names of specific groups and collections of pieces. These are the titles of the stories I have told in an attempt to uphold my part of an old agreement. My work strives to represent an understanding of sorts, a contract I made many years ago with a Peruvian weaver that I encountered on the edge of a high ruin in the Andes. The exact visual terms of our deal has to do with the purposeful evolution of archetypal symbols. My attempts at unraveling this concept surfaces within the magic of the dyepot, behind the endless processes of the loom, and through the layering of ink on a brayer in the print studio....
I create tapestries, each an original, signed and single edition, using this very complex Ikat surface design dye technique--stretching and collating each individual fiber, wrapping, dyeing, unwrapping, re-wrapping, and then over-dyeing to create layers of images and color. The Ikat technique is highly important in my process not just because it allows me to create very painterly and complex visual woven patterns, but also because of what it symbolizes. The term Ikat means to "bind" or "tie" in the Malaysian language, and binding is precisely what I strive to investigate: the infinite, intricate, and repetitive ways through which cultures, rituals and collective memories bind us together. I create textiles that aspire to do more than grace museums, command public spaces, and decorate homes. They are woven metaphors that strive to tie the contemporary, the symbolic, and the timeless together -- coded to become a magical and lyrical form of cloth.
Mary talks some about her ikat process on her website HERE. Ikat is a very time-intensive resist dye technique. To produce images like these, the fiber has to be carefully wrapped according to the design and repeated for each color.
Mary Zicafoose, Mountain for the Buddha, Reason, weft-faced ikat tapestry, wrapped, dyed and woven wool on linen warp, diptych, 58 x 54 inches
Mary Zicafoose, Mountain for the Buddha, Reason (detail)
One of Mary's rugs is featured in the show. Mary designs these wool and silk hand-knotted carpets which are manuafactured by InnerAsia/Khawachen.
Mary Zicafoose, Mountain for the Buddha, Caution; monoprints, various; Mountain for the Buddha, Reason
She is giving an artist's talk and a reception Wednesday March 11th. Details on her website HERE.

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