"Seeming Illusions/Seaming Impressions
Through Oct. 29
On view at Pivot Gallery in the Stutz Building, Seeming Illusions/Seaming Impressions, including the textile and book art of Indianapolis artists Stephanie Lewis Robertson, Brigid Manning Hamilton and Alisa Fox, explores the limitless territory of cloth as both a sort of canvas and a three-dimensional sculptural medium… sometimes both.
Brigid Manning Hamilton’s “Spirit Wear” series, four kimono-shaped works adorned with traditional and non-traditional materials such as gilded acorns and what appear to be sections of bone and even a bloody tooth, range from benign to macabre. “Spirit Wear 1: Oak” is fixed with gold-toned leaves cut from fabric, luminous and lovely. “Spirit Wear 4: Opening Her Big Mouth,” on the other hand, is a provocative blend of hard and soft, with words such as “STOP,” “DAMN,” “NO,” and “WHY” delicately stitched onto the surface.
Alisa Fox also offers some lovely moments with her charcoal drawings on handmade paper and stitched books including found text, pages fluttering open like wings, and flowing with hair and colored thread. Fox is enamored with the butterfly, titling several works after the symbol of the psyche.
But here I must make a confession. I am unabashedly in love with the work of Stephanie Lewis Robertson. I’ve always found her work to be beautiful, but somehow she keeps upping the ante — and her art has moved into some other ethereal realm of divine beauty.
Robertson has spent years perfecting her artform grounded in the use of dyed fabric as primary medium. In her current series, each piece of cloth is dyed in hues ranging from the subtle colors of earth to brilliant jewels, often a combination of these. I view them as lyrical abstractions of feeling tones — each piece bending and arcing with the next in a heavenly dance. Pieces such as “stones tell stories only some can hear” and “the turning of the season causes her to dance” encompass a series of individual forms; each piece is lovely in and of itself, but taken together, they become something else. I see shimmering pebbles beneath a clear stream shot through with sunlight, or the complex colors of the Northern lights. Sometimes beauty can indeed be provocative… and a source of divine sustenance.
Seeming Illusions/Seaming Impressions is on view at Pivot Gallery, 1005 N. Senate Ave. in the Stutz, through Oct. 29. Call 536-0047 or visit www.pivotgallery.com for hours and information.