September 24, 2020

Student exhibits experiment with conventional; ‘Chameleon’ blends mediums

‘Chameleon’ featured ‘Intermingling Insides’ by Anya Saretzky. (Christopher Lombardi / Staff Photographer)

By Casey Tiston

Fashioned from a variety of materials,“Chameleon,” a fiber arts exhibit, reimagined the concept of architecture.

The exhibit was curated by senior art history major Gabrielle Peterson and opened in the Arts and Interactive Multimedia building on Nov. 15. She curated the exhibit as an honors project for professor of graphic design Elizabeth Mackie’s fiber arts class.

Peterson chose the works herself, and in her words arranged them by color and style “to allow for a nice flow throughout the room.” The project included works from three projects for the class.

The first focused on the body as an armature. In other words, students were required to craft a sculpture fitting the body, using only the felting process.

The second project featured art using dyed fabric. These works included many different fabric-dying techniques, and incorporated bright colors and varying motifs.

The third project is a crocheted piece made of red licorice. This piece is Peterson’s own work, one of three of her pieces included in the exhibition. Mackie described this assignment as “exploring knitting, crochet and weaving with non-traditional materials,” and being “inspired by architecture.”

Peterson’s licorice piece, titled “Solid Breath,” is inspired by San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane in Italy. She said she “wanted to depict breathing in some way, so I chose licorice because I found it to be the color of lungs. I crocheted licorice and bound it together with wire and filled the inside with batting to create my own interpretation of lungs.”

Another striking piece included in the exhibit was “Resting Writhingly” by David Sutterley. As the only floor installation, the piece used the space in order to create the illusion that a person was lying underneath the tightly stretched red fabric. The piece, a rectangle of red fabric stretched in a wooden frame, had an almost eerie appearance.

Other featured artists included Anya Saretzky, junior political science and sociology major, whose piece “Intermingling Insides” was a long red and purple piece, with dangling threads and pieces of bright fabric shown hanging from a mannequin head. “Secure Beginnings,” by Lauren DeFressine, senior psychology major, was a nest-shaped piece shown on the arm of a mannequin.

Kelsey Long, junior art education major, made a large yellow wall piece in the shape of a sideways triangle, with smaller pieces floating to the left of the largest part. This piece was titled “Untitled (Knots).”

These pieces and others came together to create a dynamic, original exhibit showing the many ways artists can manipulate fibers and dying techniques. “Chameleon” was, according to Peterson, “a comment on the ways in which these fiber materials could be masked or transformed.”

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