April 4 - 29
Reception: Saturday, April 7, 5-7pm
The Dedee Shattuck Gallery is pleased to present Solastalgia, an exhibition presenting the work of textile artists: Miyuki Akai Cook, Carrie Dickason, Natalie Miebach, Kristin Pesola, Myra Serrins, Jenine Shereos, Jodi Stevens, Ann Wessmann, and Meredith Woolnough.
Solastalgia, a term which combines “solace” and “pain”, is defined as, “the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault . . . a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home.’ ” (Glenn Albrecht, 2007). That juxtaposition – our attachment to the beauty and comfort of a known place with a sense of anticipated/observed/concurrent loss – generates appreciation and anxiety. Will the trill and thrum of the natural world be altered, silenced, replaced? What is transience, relative to our human observations?
Miyuki Akai Cook
Miyuki Akai Cook was born and raised in Japan. She has always enjoyed creativities since she can remember, such as drawing, painting, and paper cutting, then her mother introduced sewing, knitting, crocheting. It was very natural for Miyuki to pursue art as her career. She attended Seian Woman’s college in Kyoto for a year to study textile, which was the first experience she dyed fabric. She earned BFA in Interior Design from Osaka University of Arts in Japan.
In 2000 Miyuki took a journey to the U.S. to explore a different culture. She re-discovered an interest in textile while she was studying at University of North Texas. In 2006 she received MFA in Fiber/ Artisanry from University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth. She has been passionate for education and currently teaching at Marshall University, WV.
Her visual inspiration and aesthetic are often from Japanese heritage. She calls herself a “maker” because her curious and adventurous personality let her to use various techniques and materials for different purposes. As a mother and educator, she concerns about young generation. In her artwork she express our coexistence and dilemma caught between human society and nature’s gift of life. She will have an installation work open to public in this June that is part of an artist in residency in Charleston, WV.
My work focuses on balance and dilemma caught between human society with all mechanical development and human as a part of nature. I often use disposable items and trash with traditional materials and techniques to express today’s human society. Technology must coexist with our only land, earth, since we will never go back to ancient life style. I am not blaming anyone, but I rather present the facts and problems for awareness.
Carrie Dickason is a mixed-media artist whose experimental work is influenced by observations of nature, combined with interests in the constructed environment and consumer culture. Professional experiences working in textile and upholstery restoration inform her playful approach to materials and the cumulative development of site-specific installations.
Dickason received a Master of Fine Arts in Fiber, from Cranbrook Academy of Art; and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles, from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Columbus Museum of Art; Cranbrook Museum of Art; Center for Maine Contemporary Art; Philbrook Museum of Art; Teton ArtLab; Arrowmont School of Crafts; Urban Institute of Contemporary Art; Burlington City Arts; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia, PA- among others.
Carrie’s studio is currently based in Tulsa, Ok, where she is part of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, however in the past decade she’s lived and worked in Detroit, Maine, and Vermont. When she’s not in her studio, she enjoys exploring new landscapes and spending time with family and friends.
The Last Gift She Gave…
Is it possible to balance the manufactured with the organic, the man-made with the earth-grown? In decades to come, how will “Nature” respond to the synthetic materials that humans generate?
The title, The Last Gift She Gave…, emerged from a series of text messages, as my mother stood witness to the extraction of our family’s cedar trees, felled in exchange for an updated power grid. We shared a history with those trees. They shaded our summer gatherings, and shielded our home from winter winds. As a child I used to climb the cedars’ scraggly trunks, seeking new perspectives, hanging upside down, inadvertently collecting the sap sticking to my hands and clothes. This visceral relationship included the intimacy of hugging the branches, and breathing the spicy oils. And long before my own childhood, the trees stood strong, through multiple generations.
What is Nature worth? What does It do for us? What is It’s inherent value? Our cedar trees were part of a much larger network, in a complex ecology of plants, animals, insects, and minerals. They were homes for birds and playgrounds for squirrels. Cedar is widely known to symbolize healing, cleansing and protection. In our rural community, trees are few, as many have been cleared for farming, or sold for lumber. Without the cedars, what will protect our home from negative spirits- or filter the dust and pollution generated by large-scale farming? Statistically we can quantify a tree’s value by how much carbon it sequesters, but spiritually there is no measure. In The Last Gift She Gave… tying, binding, and wrapping are metaphors for stabilizing my personal dis-ease, and longing to reach the intangible sense of peace experienced within healthy ecosystems.
Nathalie Miebach explores the intersection of art and science by translating scientific data related to meteorology, ecology and oceanography into woven sculptures and musical scores/ performances. Her main method of data translation is that of basket weaving, which functions as a simple, tactile grid through which to interpret data into 3D space. Central to this work is her desire to explore the role visual and musical aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of complex scientific systems, such as weather.
Miebach is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including a Pollock-Krasner Award, Virginia A. Groot Foundation Award, TED Global Fellowship, 2 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowships and the Fine Arts Work Center. She did her undergraduate studies in Chinese and Political Science at Oberlin College. She received an MFA in Sculpture and an MS in Art Education from Massachusetts College of Art. Her work has shown nationally and internationally, and has been reviewed by publications spanning fine arts, design, and technology. She lives in Boston.
My work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations. Using the methodologies and processes of both disciplines, I translate scientific data related to astronomy, ecology and meteorology woven sculptures. My method of translation is principally that of weaving – in particular basket weaving – as it provides me with a simple yet highly effective grid through which to interpret data in three-dimensional space. By staying true to the numbers, these woven pieces tread an uneasy divide between functioning both as sculptures in space as well as instruments that could be used in the actual environment from which the data originates.
Central to this work is my desire to explore the role visual aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of science information. By utilizing artistic processes and everyday materials, I am questioning and expanding boundaries through which science data has been traditionally visually translated (ex: graphs, diagrams), while at the same time provoking expectations of what kind of visual vocabulary is considered to be in the domain of ‘science’ or ‘art’.
For my most recent project called “Recording and Translating Climate Change”, I gather weather observations from specific ecosystems using very simple data-collecting devices. The numbers are then compared to historical / global meteorological trends, before being translated into sculpture. By examining the complex behavioral interactions of living/non-living systems between weather and an environment, I hope to gain a better understanding of complexity of systems and behaviors that make up weather and climate change. Lately, I have also started to translate the data into musical scores, which are then interpreted through sculptures as well as through collaborations with musicians. My aim is twofold: to convey a nuance or level of emotionality surrounding my research that thus far has been absent from my visual work and to reveal patterns in the data musicians might identify which I have failed to see.
I received the invitation to participate in the Solastalgia exhibit just as the Columbia River Gorge was set ablaze. The air over Portland had already been thick with smoke for weeks from fires burning from Canada to California, turning the moon an eerie orange red, coating everthing with ash, and forcing those of us without air conditioning to keep our windows closed despite the 30 degree drop in temperature at night that would have allowed us to cool our overheated homes. But this fire had a far more visceral impact, because the Eagle Creek fire struck at our very core. For the greater Portland-Vancouver community, the Columbia River Gorge is both home and sanctuary. It transports us, grounds us, elevates us, defines us. And Eagle Creek was the very heart of the Gorge. Home of the first campground in the National Forest System since 1916, Eagle Creek was the quintessential Gorge destination, offering breathtaking views and the iconic Punchbowl Falls. But now the reckless actions of an impulsive teenager threatened our refuge and our collective identity. I flew over the fire twice in the first two weeks that it was burning. This time, the view that in all previous occasions would first make me sad to leave and then provide a glorious welcome home, was now covered in smoke. All I could think of was that we will never be the same.
Yet after the initial shock had passed, the massive outpouring of collective grief that flooded the community started to seem almost self-indulgent. Who were we to feel sorry for ourselves over this loss, and it was truly a tremendous loss, when so many others up and down the coast had lost their homes, their livelihoods, and even their lives? Yes, we had lost arguably the most precious gem, at least temporarily, but certainly not the entire crown of jewels. And regardless of how it had started, fire was a natural phenomenon. As scientists quickly reminded us, this would actually be a good thing for the health of the forest, an important reset event.
At the same time, the level of vitriol directed toward the unwitting arsonist seemed similarly disingenuous. The self-righteous condemnation of a highly consequential but thoughtless act failed to consider our collective responsibility and the harm that we as a non-native community have brought upon this amazing place for more than 150 years. At least since the first railroads were built in 1881, we as a society and our way of life have posed the biggest threat to this revered site. Our complicated relationship with the Columbia River Gorge has transformed ecosystems, disrupted traditional cultures and left countless scars across the landscape from logging, highways, dams, shipping, nuclear waste, and even parks and a recent rapid increase in recreational hiking.
The four pieces that make up the series entitled "Sacred Geographies" are a response to the dramatic events of the fall of 2017 and to the conflicted connections that we maintain to even our most sacred places. "River," "Mountain," "Tree," and "Fire" reflect upon the beauty of the natural world and our at times ill-conceived efforts to belong there.
Kristin Pesola is a fiber artist living in Portland who works predominantly with interlacement techniques--weaving, knitting and crochet--using non-traditional materials such as paper, wire and hand-made felt. Originally from Minnesota, Kristin's current art practice was shaped by a diverse backgound in performance, literature and culture. Her foundational artistic training began in ballet, starting at age 6. She performed in a small regional dance company in Fargo, ND as a high school and college student before moving to Chicago to study dance intensively. After ultimately deciding to explore other career paths, she studied in Finland as an exchange student where she learned to weave. There, the very physical, rhythmic process of working at the loom, together with the dynamic culture of Finnish design awoke a new passion for textiles and visual art. She continued weaving at the Weaver’s Guild of Minnesota while completing her B.A. at the University of Minnesota in Spanish, Finnish and linguistics. Her attention then turned to pursuing an academic career in Latin American literature, and she completed a Ph.D. at Duke University specializing in gender and performance in Mexico. After teaching at Mount Holyoke College and Iowa State University for several years, she recognized that her need to create art was much stronger than her motivation to study it. So, almost twenty years after learning to weave at a Finnish folkschool, she left her academic career behind and enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program in fibers at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. The influence of dance, music, Finland and Mexico can be seen in Kristin's sense of time, space, rhythm, color and texture. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is included in several public and private collections.
My love of weaving began when I happened upon the weaving studio while working towards my BFA at The Cleveland Institute of Art. I was taken by the beauty of colorful yarns, pots of dyes and Swedish style looms. It all went straight to my heart. Over time I saw that the line of warp and weft could relate to my drawings, where line becomes shape, building and layering imagery. These activities form the basis of my studio practice.
After raising a family I returned to school at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for an MFA in fibers, one of the most meaningful experiences in my life. While there I explored a variety of ways of working with textiles to express my ideas but never lost touch with my love of sending a shuttle across a warp.
Over the years I have exhibited in local, regional and national exhibits and have taught weaving and dyeing at Peters Valley Craft School in New Jersey and Brookfield Craft Center in Connecticut. My home and studio are located in the Northwest corner of Connecticut, where I am surrounded and inspired by the love of my family and the quiet beauty of the woods.
I peer towards the future, wondering what it holds for my children, my grandchildren. In my mind’s eye I glance over my shoulder, longing for a time when I took some things for granted, when I thought that life for those I love would go on in a reasonably stable fashion. Instead I find myself in a shifting landscape, rife with uncertainty. To counter confusion I turn to images and words as simple as plain weave, follow the shuttle across the loom in order to glean an understanding of what unfolds from my heart to my hand. In this quiet state of mind I know that the act of creating is an affirmation, an impulse that works against the negative and destructive aspects of human nature. I begin to see a path forward.
Born: Chicago, Illinois 1978
Jenine Shereos is a sculptor and installation artist specializing in fiber and textile processes. She has an MFA from California State University, Long Beach, and currently lives in Massachusetts.
Shereos’ work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and included in exhibitions in France, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Austria, and Canada. Her work has also been published in the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Frame Magazine, Make Magazine, Texteil Plus Magazine, and Mary Schoeser’s recent publication; Textiles: The Art of Mankind. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Crafts, first place in “Small Expressions,” at the Long Beach Museum of Art, second prize at the Triennial of Mini-textiles in Angers, France, and the Drawing Prize at the 20the Drawing Show at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts.
Over the past several years, I have been developing a body of work in which I utilize textile techniques such as knitting and embroidery to create works that interact with the structure of the landscape. Sometimes material is fluid and in motion and other times it is held under tension, creating a network of dimensional lines throughout the physical space it encompasses. The work takes on many different forms as knit cloth is caught up in ocean waves simulating the motion of the seaweed surrounding it, thread is embedded into the bark of a tree to form embroidered designs, or what appear to be delicate fall leaves are upon closer inspection revealed to be made from intricately stitched human hair.
Some of these site-specific works are installed for a period of weeks for viewers to interact with, and others function as an ephemeral performance existing afterwards only as documentation. Oftentimes, collaborations intended or unintended arise within the environment; a tree’s fallen limbs are “reattached” using knit material, fibrous fragments of seaweed become embedded within a structure of knit fibers, or the curve of a rock is mimicked in the gesture of a cloth’s movement. In each of these works, material is suspended in a state of making and un-making as new structures and meanings emerge.
Jodi Stevens received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina in 2006 and completed her MFA in Fibers in 2010, at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She resides in New Bedford, MA and has shown work in Canada, various locations in the U.S., and more extensively throughout Massachusetts.
Stevens has been a visiting artist in residence for several programs in Colorado and Massachusetts. She has directed workshops and participated in textile-based educational outreach programs through museum partnerships and commissions, including the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA and the Albany Institute of History and Art in Albany, New York. Stevens holds an ongoing position as adjunct faculty for the Continuing Education department at Rhode Island School of Design. She was the Lead Curator at Dedee Shattuck Gallery located in Westport, Massachusetts from 2015-2016. She will be serving her third year as a guest juror for the annual Cuttyhunk Plein Air Festival in 2018, and she provides administrative support to the ART drive, an annual artists' open studios tour event. Stevens is currently the Operations Manager at the New Bedford Port Society, the oldest non-profit organization in New Bedford, MA. The Port Society maintains the historic Seamen’s Bethel and Mariner’s Home located in the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.
My work explores ritualistic behavior and usually involves the unconventional use of ordinary materials or object. My making process becomes evident in the formal structure of an installation, which is often site-specific. Or, through hand embroidery, I use recognizable imagery to portray conflicting ideals. I reference home or personal space using such imagery, or by re-purposing domestic objects and emphasizing the architectural elements of a space. One’s “ritual process” includes daily routines and common habits – even those seemingly mundane, or behaviors that or easily overlooked. Such familiar actions help one feel comfortable within the world but may simultaneously lead to one’s complacency. I aim to examine my own ritualistic tendencies by placing familiar themes alongside unexpected forms within object or atmosphere.
Ann Wessmann is an artist living and working in Boston. She received a BS from Skidmore College and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Wessmann was a professor in the 3-D Fine Arts Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston from 1978-2017. She is currently Professor Emerita and a Visiting Lecturer. Wessmann's mixed media wall reliefs, sculptural objects and site specific installations have been exhibited throughout the US including locally at the Fuller Craft Museum, the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, the Art Complex Museum, the Mills Gallery, Spoke Gallery @ Medicine Wheel Productions, and Suffolk University Gallery. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections. Wessmann has been a member of the Kingston Gallery since 2002 and has had six major solo shows and six smaller solo shows at the Kingston since 2001.
Ann Wessmann's objects and installations explore themes relating to time, memory, beauty and the ephemeral. With a background in fiber and textile processes, Wessmann develops works through repetition and the accumulation of a variety of materials. Materials are chosen for their expressive potential; translucent vellum, various personal mementos such as locks of hair from family members, texts from family journals and letters, or natural materials such as plants, shells and stones. The works have a strong relationship to text and textiles, pattern, transformation, order and chaos, landscape and the body, and the strength and fragility of humanity and the natural world.
Wessmann engages the viewer through the physicality of materials, and the use of scale. Viewers often confront works which mirror the human body; larger scale installations may surround the viewer. In some cases works of a small scale are created requiring the viewer to look from a very close perspective.
While the work may begin as the commemoration of the life of a family member or the family home, Wessmann's hope is that the work will have universal appeal and remind viewers of their own history and relationships.
Poem for my Old Chestnut Trees is an homage to two horse chestnut trees on the property of the home which has been in the family for over 64 years. Twigs from the trees have been collected in the fall for the past eight years. One of the trees recently died.
Meredith Woolnough's elegant embroidered traceries capture the delicate beauty of nature in knotted embroidery threads. Through a delicate system of tiny stitches she creates intricate and complex openwork compositions that are then carefully pinned in shadowboxes, just like preserved specimens.
The work maps the frameworks of the various veining systems found in nature to create work that explores the balance, harmony and connectivity of life on Earth. Inspired by the patterns, structures and shapes found in plants, coral, cells and shells Meredith's embroideries represent both the robust beauty and elegant fragility of life.
Meredith is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning artist from Newcastle, Australia. Her work is held in public, private and corporate collections worldwide.
The world’s coral reefs are in peril. Large expanses of reefs are bleaching and dyeing due to warming ocean temperatures. Most people are familiar with the cause and result of coral bleaching but there is another, relatively unknown, phenomenon that is happening on some reefs. The coral is glowing.
Little is known about this recent evolutionary adaptation. It is believed to be a type of chemical sunscreen the coral produces to help protect themselves from the heat. These stunning shades of violet and blue are a type or swan song for coral. A beautiful fateful florescence as the coral transforms itself in a final attempt to survive this changing world.