While gazing in awe at the work I saw at SOFA Chicago, I came across several themes that I think are interesting, and which I’d like to explore in future work. Probably the biggest one is optical illusions related to color, like this spectacular piece, Zhuang Hong Yi’s Blue to Orange, rice paper on canvas. Here’s a video of the color changes as you walk from one side of this piece to the other:
(Email subscribers: you’ll have to go to my website to see the video; for some reason, links to videos don’t work properly in the email subscriptions.)
For those not in a position to play video, here are some photos showing the piece from various angles:
I’m fascinated by the interactivity of the piece – as you move right or left, the color changes, and the view from left and right look totally different.
I also like the complexity of the piece – it has visual texture and physical texture, and has a dimensional complexity that makes it more interesting (to me) than a flat wall hanging. I’m already thinking of ways I might be able to use this effect in my own work.
It also reminds me of this book, which is on my Christmas list:
I have no concrete plans for how to put together 3D origami, dynamic color changes, and handwoven cloth yet, but ideas are percolating…one possibility is a spiral rosette that is blue on one side and orange on the other. I’m not sure how that would be constructed yet, but somewhere in the coffee pot of my subconscious an idea is brewing…
There were some other pieces exploring related concepts. Here is Seed Universe 36 by Ilhwa Kim:
This piece is made out of flattened rolls of colored rice paper, rolls of various size and lengths that are then glued perpendicular to the canvas. The result is a piece with delightful complexity, which gives something to the viewer both close up and at a distance, and at many angles. Here’s a picture of the entire piece:
And here are two pictures of another piece, by the same artist:
I found it utterly fascinating, and I’m already thinking of ways to explore similar concepts.
There weren’t many textile pieces, so when I saw this quilt, I ran excitedly over:
I was surprised to discover that it was actually carved and painted wood! Beautiful.
Even after seeing the “quilt,” I was almost deceived by this “bathrobe” (also made of wood!):
Browngrotta Arts was one of the few galleries offering textiles. Here’s one of my favorites:
And here’s a closeup:
I loved this piece for its harmony and motion, and because it offers something to the observer both from a distance and close up.
There were a ton of other spectacular pieces at SOFA Chicago – these are just the ones that caught my eye. If you love fine craft, you should go to this show. (At least go once, so you can get an idea of the marvelous things that are possible in craft.)
Louise asked how Mike and the cats are doing. They are just fine, and holding down the fort at home while I travel about the country. In fact, Tigress helped me pack:
Eventually, however, they both got bored and went back to their favorite Olympic sport: synchronized sleeping, snuggled up to each other in the cat tree. (Do not try this at home, kids! These are trained professionals.)
And Mike? He’s doing fine, although he reports that Tigress is now insisting on playing “fetch” with him, usually multiple times in a day! This is new – previously, she would play “fetch” with me all the time, but wouldn’t play with Mike. Of course, now that he’s turned into a cat-treat dispenser as well (she gets a cat treat whenever she brings a thrown object back), she’ll likely harass him a lot more. Which is, of course, just awful. 😉
Zhuang Hong Yi’s work epitomizes iridescence to me. Fascinating. But
“Seeds” in green. Ugh. Reminds me of small worms or larvae in a grass bed-probably because of the concentration of red/orangey bits in the center. Interesting that the blue version is much more pleasant. The contrasting colors appear more dispersed. Are the seeds very small bolts of cloth wrapped around cardboard?
I’m looking forward to more of SOFA. Thanks to you.
Tien Chiu says
I’m not a huge fan of the colors in the green piece, either, but my video of the blue piece didn’t come out as nicely, unfortunately. The seeds are basically flattened rolls of rice paper (at least, it said “rice paper on canvas” in the caption). No cardboard center, just the rice paper.
And that was just a tiny bit of SOFA! The show is spectacular. I am seriously thinking about going on an annual basis, just for the inspiration.