FIBER ART PIONEERS: PUSHING THE PLIABLE PLANE JO ANN C. STABB
The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston’s heralded exhibition, Fiber: Sculpture 1960 to the present, which opened in late 2014 and is currently on exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, spurred a resurgence of interest in the contemporary fiber movement. Fiber art exhibitions in the year that followed included Thread Lines, at the Drawing Center in New York, textiles by Richard Tuttle and Sonia Delauney in separate exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London, Pathmakers: Women In Art, Craft and Design Midcentury and Today, the Museum of Arts and Design’s traveling exhibition, and Sheila Hicks at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, with more in the works. In August, the Wall Street Journal labeled fiber, “the Art World’s New Material Obsession.” In this essay, Jo Ann C. Stabb considers the origins of this movement and the artists whose experiments transformed textile art. Jo Ann Stabb is a designer, author and lecturer focusing on the field of fashion and wearable art. She served on the Design faculty of the University of California, Davis, for 34 years (1968 – 2002) teaching clothing, fashion, historic costume, ethnographic costume and contemporary wearable design.This essay is adapted from Fiber Art Pioneers: Pushing the Pliable Plane, which appeared in Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture, published by browngrotta arts, Wilton, CT. This essay appears in conjunction with browngrotta arts’ presentation at SOFA CHICAGO 2015. All images courtesy of Tom Grotta.
Kay Sekimachi Monofilament, c. 1975 monofilament 57 x 17
The official catalog of the 22nd annual Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design Fair: SOFA CHICAGO.