FIBER brings taste of international fiber arts to Omaha

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By Andrew Aulner, Contributor

The KANEKO in the KANEKO-UNO Library is currently hosting the FIBER exhibit, a collection of fiber and textile artwork that runs the gamut from clothing to story quilts and everything in between. The FIBER exhibit, which began on Feb. 6 with an opening reception, is split into six sections on both floors of the KANEKO building. Four of these “stages” are located on the ground floor. Stage One is “Florabunda,” which showcases the works of several textile designers by displaying dozens of Hawaiian shirts throughout the chamber’s open space, with explanatory markers on the walls to educate the viewer about the work of designers like Alfred Shaheen, John Meigs and Elsie Das. Stage Two is “Fiber Legends,” featuring the work of Nick Cave, a well-known artist who creates full-body “soundsuits” out of flea market material; Jon Eric Riis, whose handwoven textiles include “Ancestor Tapestry” (presumably depicting the faces of Riis’ forebears); and Sheila Hicks, a Nebraska-bornfiber artist whose ropelike sculpture, “Mehnir II,” among others, hangs throughout the space. Stages Three and Four are both about “Global Threads,” celebrating artistic diversity in fiber and textile works from around the world. Stage Three connects StageTwo with the KANEKO’s 12th Street entrance. Hanging on the wall is “The Quilted Conscience,” a mural-style story quilt created by a group of Sudanese-American girls that depicts sports, home, family, daily life and other activities. This piece is part of the Quilted Conscience Project, which seeks to foster creativity and friendship. Another notable exhibit is an audio recording of Pamela Johnson’s poem “100% Cotton,” an unorthodox but welcoming artistic display. Stage Four is a separate room that exclusively focuses on the work of Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, whose kimonos made of meisen (the Japanese term for a certain type of mostly silk, patterned cloth) hang all across the walls in a splendorous assortment of colors and designs. Going up the stairs leads to Stage Five, featuring the “American Tapestry Biennial,” a collection of highlights in tapestry artwork sponsored by the American Tapestry Alliance. The tapestries depict many different events and convey a plethora of emotions, often achieving unique effects, such as the water images seen in Christine Rivers’ North Coast Reflections. Finally, Stage Six is the current home of perhaps the most tragic and moving exhibit, “Fabric of Survival.” Esther Nisenthal Krinitz stitched 36 pieces of fabric art in order to portray the events of her life as a Jewish native of Poland during the Holocaust. Krinitz visually tells the story of how she and her sister escaped from the Gestapo and eventually traveled to a new life in America, with descriptions of the depicted events stitched at the bottom of each fabric. A video documentary plays on a TV on one side of the room as visitors follow the story told on the fabric works throughout the rest of the room. FIBER is scheduled to remain on display until April 25. The KANEKO is located at 1111 Jones Street.

Photos by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway Fiber Legends features the work of Nick Cave, Jon Eric Rills and Shella Hicks.
Photos by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway
Fiber Legends features the work of Nick Cave, Jon Eric Rills and Shella Hicks.

 

Photo by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway he exhibit featured a fiber installation by Shella Hicks.
Photo by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway
he exhibit featured a fiber installation by Shella Hicks.

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