Fiber Here and Now!
September 7 - November 16, 2022
Curated by Lorraine Morales Cox, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair, Visual Arts Department
Fiber Here and Now! brings together the work of Sarah Boink, Toni Brogan, Kat Howard and Susan Martin Maffei. All four artists work with fiber as the primary medium of their practice expressed in a range of forms and techniques, from traditional woven textiles to immersive sculptural installations. The works selected for this exhibition share an engagement with the themes of trauma and healing both in the process of their fabrication as well as in their subject matter. Martin Maffei explores the environmental trauma created by climate change on various ecosystems and Howard, Brogan and Boink explore personal traumas of domestic violence, sexual assault, estrangement and grief. Their subtle and metaphorical approaches invite the viewer to reflect on these themes in relation to their own individual and shared experiences and also bring greater awareness and empathy for the traumas of others.
In keeping with the theme of healing, all four artists work with sustainably sourced materials including organic fibers, natural dyes, and handmade yarn as well as repurposing discarded fabrics and textiles. The material and texture of these objects also carry associations with warmth, comfort and protection. Thus, in their creation, the works also become extended acts of healing.
Collectively, the artists reside in the Hudson and Mohawk Valley, the lands of the Mohican and also the Haudenosaunee, an indigenous matriarchal society in which the women controlled land rights and decided if a man was to be removed from a position of power if found to be murderous, a thief or sexually abusive. And Mother Earth, to which all indigenous cultures hold an authentic and inherent bond, calls us to practice sustainable cultivation and protection of the land and break free from the social inertia that continues to perpetuate the climate crisis. It is equally imperative that we use our voice to hold non-eco friendly companies accountable to the earth and further trauma. In viewing this exhibition, it is important to consider the context of place and pre-colonial dynamics of power and belonging as we reflect on what we are doing, here and now, for the wellbeing of our planet and each other.
Lorraine Morales Cox, PhD