10 Days Left to see the Triennial
Attending the opening for Fiberart International in Pittsburgh, PA was thrilling and inspiring. There were 55 artists from 8 countries in this 23rd triennial exhibition and about half of them were able to come to the events that were sponsored by the two galleries that hosted the show, Contemporary Craft and the Brew House. The Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh also sponsored a day long event featuring a keynote by Jane Sauer, gallerist, artist and thought leader in contemporary fiber arts. The jurors were Jane Sauer and Sonya Clark, Distinguished Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The exhibition took two years to organize and the coordination of this effort was shared by Rae Gold and Risë Nagin. There were so many highlights for me and I’ll share a few here.
First of all, I was hosted by the lovely Madeline Darnell, a member of the Guild. She not only had me as a guest in her home over the long weekend but also took me on a tour of Pittsburgh and to some of the area galleries.
We visited the Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery and had the opportunity to meet the owner, Amy Morgan, who is a firecracker and mover and shaker in the Pittsburgh art scene.
Some of my favorite fiber artists were also in the show. I met Jim Arendt, who collected the first place prize for his powerful piece Cat: Free Will Ain’t Cheap, which uses reclaimed denim to address labor issues. There were several men whose work garnered awards and attention, a refreshing change in the female dominated fiber field. Another artist, Louise Silk, who also works with recycled denim, hosted a lovely dinner at her artist loft. She told me that she had been inspired by my installation Tribe of Dina that she saw in the 1980s. It’s great to learn that our work is making a difference.
I had a reunion with Susan Avishai and her husband Bob Bernstein from Toronto. They had attended our 360 Xochi Quetzal Artist Residency program in Mexico earlier in the spring and we had a wonderful connection as fiber artists. Susan’s piece No Place to Hide a Dark Heart is part of a series of sculptures made from deconstructed, discarded clothing rescued from thrift shops. The other artist in our trio was Adrienne Sloan, who plans to attend the residency in 2020. Her piece 100 Days and Counting is a painful reminder of our current political debacle.
All in all, it was a great honor for my piece Kansai to be included in this exhibition and to have the opportunity to see so much excellent and innovative work in fiber.