SEVEN: FIBERS is the seventh group exhibition organized by the curatorial duo Katie Murray and Nathan Madrid in which they present recent work by mid-career and emerging contemporary artists. Fiber exhibitions are not a common occurrence in North Texas, but this show is also notable because these works go beyond basic functionality in fiber art — or in the curators’ words, it seeks to “prioritize aesthetic value over utility.” The six women artists featured in the show are Sheryl Anaya, Taylor Barnes, Molly Beaufait, Jennifer Cummings, Casey Galloway, and Rebecca Shewmaker.
Casey Galloway is the Fiber Department Coordinator at the Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, and also owns a business that makes handmade garments. She divides her artistic focus between functional fiber work and more conceptual installation pieces. One of her conceptual works, Future Suspended, consists of layered antique doilies and other found objects. She states in the catalog accompanying the show that her use of fiber to transform found objects is a meditative act or an homage. Galloway’s installation of The Quilt displays an abundance of dye effects on pieced handmade paper and underscores that the creation of dye colors is an essential part of fiber art for many artists.
Molly Beaufait’s Roseate (shown at top) is also impressive in its range of ephemeral, dyed colors. It’s hand-woven with hand-dyed cotton thread, and its hanging panels are composed of multiple nine-foot tall sections. Her dyeing and weaving processes balance control as well as chance. Molly Beaufait is currently a BFA in Fibers candidate at UNT.
Jennifer Cummings also creates woven textiles, and she addresses female anatomy and fertility in her work, basing the imagery in the hand-woven Days and Connections on her fertility charts and ovarian cycle. In contrast to her woven piece, Cummings also creates complex mixed-media layerings of found objects with printing on paper and fabrics, as in her work Awake. She recently completed a BFA in Fibers at UNT.
Taylor Barnes’ undergraduate degree emphasis at was in ceramics and fiber, and she combines both media in Continuums and Weave Within. Hand-tied threads accent the simple forms of the fired clay bowls as they are threaded through holes, both of which subvert the traditional functionality of vessels. She is pursuing an MFA in Fibers at UNT.
In her decidedly non-traditional contribution, Sheryl Anaya exhibits small sections of poly deco mesh within two-inch acrylic boxes. The mesh retains the connection between fiber art and weaving, but its encasement divorces it from any functionality. The glittery poly deco fibers give a gem-like effect to the miniature weavings, and the tiny boxes are further incorporated into photographs of staged installations. Anaya received her BFA from TWU.
Rebecca Shewmaker creates small “thread paintings” on fabric in a traditional pictorial format. She photographs landscapes in Northeast Texas, and from these images develops watercolor studies of sky and landforms. For her final works, she first dyes the fabric support to create atmospheric effects and ground color, then adds background details with free-motion machine stitching and foreground textures with hand embroidery. Shewmaker is currently an MFA Painting student at TWU.
Through Wednesday, September 13 at the Art Room, Fort Worth. Gallery hours are by appointment. Contact [email protected] or 972.978.9294.