New KMAC Museum exhibition examines the relationship between fiber arts and technology
Technology has made it easier for society to record and store information. A new exhibition at the KMAC Museum shows how fiber arts paved the way for this modern digital existence.
“Holding Pattern” demonstrates how fiber arts have historically been used as means to capture and relay information. Tiger Strikes Asteroid Greenville (TSA GVL), an artist-run curatorial collective with several hubs across the country, put together the exhibition for KMAC Museum.
“The show pretty much posits two things: that fiber arts are a technology and … they've always held the same value that our most valuable technologies have today, which is the ability to hold story, hold meaning, hold understanding,” former TSA GVL member Jennifer Oladipo said.
The exhibition includes work from six artists — Danielle Burke, April Dauscha, Nneka Kai, Elysia Mann, Keysha Rivera and Skye Tafoya — all of whom apply fiber arts in different ways to show its relationship with technology.
Kelsey Sheaffer, an artist and TSA GVL member, said the region has a connection to the fiber arts.
“The southeast does have a really vibrant history of textile work, of quilts, of mill and weaving. The materials are grown here,” Sheaffer said.
The exhibition shows not only how fiber arts work together with modern technology but also how they have contributed to advancements in the past.
“It is actually true that fiber technologies have given way to digital computation technology,” said Tiffany Calvert, a TSA GVL member and University of Louisville associate professor. “The Jacquard loom punch card technology led to modern computation.”
The curators of “Holding Pattern” say fiber arts’ influence in the world of fine arts has also been discounted. Oladipo said that’s because of the people associated with them.
Art involving fabric — weaving, sewing and quilting — is heavily associated with women and homemaking, and that’s led to it not being taken as seriously as other art forms.
“There’s definitely a gendered aspect to it,” Oladipo said. “It’s just accidental that the show was all women. But that's just definitely a part of it. That is unfortunate.”
Calvert said KMAC’s mission of combining craft art with contemporary art makes it the perfect location for this exhibition.
“That really converges with a conversation, at least over the past 20 years, about really considering craft inclusively in artmaking,” Calvert said.
“Holding Pattern” runs at the KMAC Museum through April 15.