Monday, April 16, 2012

Fiber Art Philadelphia: “Mending = Art” at Borowsky Gallery

Guest curator and participating artist Diane Savona gathers together twelve artists in “Mending=Art” on display through May 6 at the Gershwin Y, Borowsky Gallery, 401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA. Open Mon- Sun,  9 AM – 5PM,

Savona writes that mending has been historically viewed at the low end of craft, “merely a humble necessity.” The artists that she has selected for the show “invert that scale, using mending as an art process, as social activism and as a statement of personal identity.”


 Diane Savona, Repair Manual, silkscreen and sewing on fabric, bound in spiral notebook, 12” x 24”. Sections of text about mending are interspersed with line drawings and text about retinal surgery.


Selections from Erin Endicott’s “Healing Sutra” series. The artist stains and embroiders vintage family textiles, signifying the healing of old emotional wounds.



This traditional Japanese boro (heavily darned old garments) from the early 1900’s is an exquisite example of the care that once went into preserving personal possessions.


                                        Detail of the mended cloth on the pant leg.














Dorothy Caldwell, Lake, wax resist, discharged cotton, stitching, earth, 13” x 13”













Dorothy Caldwell, Bowl, wax resist, discharged cotton, stitching, earth, 13” x 13”

 Dorothy Caldwell shines in any exhibition with her powerful works. Ideas of darning, mending and sewing combine with observations of the rural landscape and its cycles of plowing, planting and harvesting. The small punctuations of color seem to signify homesteads on the vast surface of the landscape.


Libbie Soffer’s Journal from the Studio, 35 pieces approximately 14” x 14” each. Muslin, silks, rayon, silkscreen, embroidery, heat transfer, marker, cotton, sewn with red thread. Using fragments from garments and old textiles, the artist creates a visual journal of women’s lives.

The artists in “Mending=Art” are: Dorothy Caldwell, Erin Endicott, Janet Haigh, Amy Houghton, Ilaria Margutti, Wolfie E. Rawk, Diane Savona, Barbara Shapiro, Libbie Soffer, Sally Spinks, Michael Swaine, Jan Vormann.

1 comment:

  1. Years ago an artist at the Bunting Institute here in Cambridge pursued a Mending Project. She gave a pair identical pieces of cotton to every Bunting scholar, and asked each person to destroy/harm both pieces, then mend one. She then interviewed the scholars about the process. The final exhibit displayed the pairs, matted and framed, along with excerpts from the interviews. It remains one of the most moving exhibits I've ever seen.